Old-time Hop Yards, Pickers & Tools

These photos have been taken at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown,
The Madison County Historical Society in Oneida, and The Middlefield Historical Society,
all in New York. Please, when you can, take the time to visit their fine museums.

The young vines are trained by hand up cedar poles in the old style of growing.
Hops at The Faermers' Museum, Cooperstown, their first year (1998).

First year hops at The Farmers' Museum.
Hops are planted in triangles of three.


Photo courtesy of the Middlefield Historical Society.
A hop farmer tends to his vines.


Other styles can be seen with this one at the Madison County Historical Society.
An all-wood style of hop shovel.


More tools can be seen at the Middlefield Historical Society.
A vine rake, used for pitching harvested vines.


Hop vines are voracious feeders, and require plenty of food and sunlight.
More tools and first-year hops at The Farmers' Museum.


The yards are situated next to Bump Tavern and the Church at the museum.
The picturesque yards in Cooperstown.


Pickers oftem wore long gloves to protect their arms from the sticky and prickly cones.
Women and children cleaned the vines by hand.


Workers were generally paid by the box.
A hop box and hand-sewn bale on display in Middlefield.


Cedar poles were stacked in the fields before and after use.
Second-year (1999) vines in Cooperstown.


It usually takes three years for hop vines to reach maturity.
A c.1840-style hop barn has been restored.


The press was operated by pumping on the bar to press the top down.
A ratchet-style hop press in Oneida.


Double-pyramid kilns were built with a pyramid at either end of a central storage area.
A cross-section model of a basic pyramid kiln in Oneida.


Compare this press with the modern hydraulic version used at Elk Mountain Hop Farm.
A ratchet-style press in Middlefield.


Picking hops was a very social occasion, especially for workers who came from the cities for fresh country air.
Hops workers were often treated to dances and dinners.



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2001, Upstate Chunk & Paradigm Company.