Harvest...

The annual harvest begins in late August, and progresses through early October. Each variety reaches peak maturity at a different time, and must be monitored closely. Harvest begins in the field as the hop vines are mechanically cut at the ground and at the overhead support wires, and fall into a trailer or truck bed. The hop-laden vines are transported to stationary picking machines on each farm which are capable of picking 8 acres in a single 10-12 hour shift, or 15 acres if picking runs round the clock. 

The vines are hung upside down on hooks and carried into the picking machine, where hops and leaves are stripped from the vine and sent through a series of cleaning devices to remove leaves and other debris. The stripped vines and other debris are chopped and spread back onto fields to improve the soil.
 
Cleaned cones are immediately transported by conveyor belt to the hop kilns. Kiln floors are each approximately 32’ x 32’, and hold some 15,000 pounds of hop cones. Cones are spread to a depth of about 32 inches. Once the kiln is filled, drying occurs when oil or gas burners are fired and hot air (140 degrees Fahrenheit) is forced indirectly through the bed of green hops. Drying requires about 9 hours, reducing the hops to 30% of the green weight, with 8-9% moisture content. Hops are removed from the kiln floor and cooled for 24 hours. After cooling the hops are compressed into 200 pound bales, wrapped in burlap and subjected to quality inspection. At this point they leave the individual farm operation and are transported to cold storage warehouses.