Featurepreneur: Hops and Dreams
Genevieve Allen Hearn
Kelli Anderson, owner of Fundy Hops, started growing hops in Waterville on family-owned farmland nearly five years ago. She sells her hops to local breweries and cideries, further helping the industry to make delicious beverages from as many locally produced ingredients as possible. We wanted to know more about hops and how this crop does in the Annapolis Valley.
The Grapevine (GV): What got you interested in growing hops?
Kelli Anderson (KA): I got interested in growing hops when our daughter was 4 years old. I read a lot and noticed the craft beer trend was growing. My husband works out west so I started growing hops in 2005 as a ‘stay-at-home-mom’ job.
GV: How is the Annapolis Valley as a growing region for hops? Are there certain varieties that do well here?
KA: The Annapolis Valley is a prime growing area for so many things and hops do incredibly well here. We currently have nine main varieties on about four acres. One of the varieties, Galena, grows amazingly well here. We have propagated plants from a wild variety found close to our home and will be putting in a bunch to see how they brew. We had them tested last year and the alpha level hints that it will be an interesting experiment.
GV: What is your relationship with the craft breweries in the area?
KA: We have a great relationship with several local breweries, including Sea Level Brewing, Horton Ridge Malt House, and Parker’s Hilltop Brewery as well as Maritime Express Cider Co. and Keith’s. It is so great to be able to contribute to such amazing high quality local businesses.
GV: What are your future hopes for your business?
KA: This year will be busy, as most of our plants will be hitting their maturity and we’re adding plant sales to the line up. My plan is to have the website up and running soon, and plants can be found there or on our Facebook page by June or July. We are really starting to figure out this hops thing and can’t wait for the season to start. Fundy Hops will also be expanding into hemp—you have to keep things interesting!
GV: Any advice for those looking to start their own business?
KA: Research your market and prepare for lots of hard work, but it’s so worth it.
For more information on Fundy Hops, visit @FundyHops on Facebook.
All photos, and our cover photo, courtesy of Fundy Hops.