Photo courtesy Taylor Gardner
Pictured at an empty hop kiln, just waiting for the harvest at Puterbaugh Farms is a group of Belgian hop farmers and the local hop family providing the tour. Pictured from left are Roza Lemahien, Yvon Lemahein, Marleen Cambie, Mare Beddeleem, Gerda Gavel, Martin Buseyne, Trui Cambie, Greg Pickel, Joris Cambie, Lies Cambie, Bert cambie, Johan Derycke, Lena Dewerdt, Bart Dekervel, Iles Saint Germain, Wilfried Baes, Roel Desmytter, Diana Puterbaugh and Rachel Corbett.
GRANDVIEW – A visit 10 years ago to Puterbaugh Hop Farm near Grandview had such an impact that several Belgian farmers decided to make the trek again. They are currently visiting the Lower Yakima Valley, witnessing hop operations in action.
One of the visitors, Joris Cambie, started his own hop production after checking out hop operations here firsthand 10 years ago.
Taylor Gardner is a spokesperson for the Puterbaugh farm and its Hops Direct operations. She says the tour is an opportunity for the Belgian farmers to learn first-hand.
“They’re here for an educational tour of Washington state and specifically the agriculture in the Yakima Valley,” says Gardner. “They are interested in American techniques of hop farming and harvesting.”
Gardner says the hops operations that their Belgian visitors run tend to be quite a bit smaller than Puterbaugh’s.
Still, she notes the international exchange is a win-win for both host and visitor. “It’s a way to share different harvesting methods,” Gardner said.
The group from Belgium is staying in Sunnyside during their visit to the hop fields and will leave tomorrow morning, Tuesday.