In a field where bargain-hunting shoppers once parked their cars, the beginnings of beer is growing. Last month, a 15 foot high trellis system was installed by Lisa and Thomas of Otter’s Edge Farm, creating a quarter acre hop yard at Eighth Day Farm’s Holland Town Center location. The first 50 hops plants have now been transplanted and will soon be climbing up those trellises. In total, the Eighth Day Hop Yard will feature 250 plants of two hops varieties. Both New Holland Brewery and the Holland Town Center provided generous funding to make the Eighth Day Hop Yard a reality. All of the harvested hops will be purchased by New Holland Brewery and will be transformed into locally brewed beer at the 8th Street Brewery. This partnership between Eighth Day Farm and New Holland will support New Holland’s pledge to use Michigan-made ingredients in their locally made brews by 2016. New Holland brewer Steve “Bert” Berthel said, “The hops that Eighth Day is growing for us will be used in a wide variety of my pub beer styles, but mostly will show up in Uncle Bert’s Farm Market red lager, which will be featured at their upcoming Farm To Fork event on July 28th.”
Brett VanderKamp, New Holland Brewing President said, “When Eighth Day Farm pitched us the idea of a hop yard at their Town Center location, I was immediately drawn to the idea of hops vines reaching up out of a converted asphalt parking lot.” Josh Banner, Eighth Day Farm’s point person for this project said “Eighth Day is always looking for creative ways to expand our urban farm and provide fresh healthy produce to families and restaurants in West Michigan. We are so excited to be partnering with New Holland to grow hops.” Mike Bocks, the Manager of the Holland Town Center praises the farm for helping revitalize the formerly defunct outlet mall into a vibrant, mixed-use, neighborhood property.