This week the hop harvest begins in Galicia, and this year it brings with it an important innovation: this will be the first time that ecological hops are harvested in Spain, cultivated following the procedures set out by CRAEGA, Consejo Regulador de la Agricultura Ecologica en Galicia (Regulatory Council for Ecological Agriculture in Galicia).
The ecological hopfield is located in the Mabegondo facilities and is a result of a 3 year research and testing process, coordinated by Hijos de Rivera and CIAM-Centro de Investigacions Agrarias de Mabegondo (Mabegondo Agricultural Research Centre), and has led to an ecological harvest from a conventional one. A total of 1,700 square metres of ecological hops of the Nugget variety were harvested with which 100,000 litres of beer can be produced.
Over the next few days, the harvest of conventional Galician hop will continue. In the facilities of the CIAM alone, there is an expected production of 1,600 kg of hops, which will produce around 1.6 million litres of beer. Each year, new varieties of hop are introduced into the crop tests in order to evaluate the results of their development. This year, 11 varieties of hop have been grown, mainly the Nugget, Perle and Magnum varieties, but also some Czech or German ones such as Cascade, Sladek or Mittelfruhe.
As a result of this research project, some private initiatives related to the growth of hops in Galicia have emerged, led by a number of people who have come together under the LUTEGA cooperative. CIAM and Hijos de Rivera place all the results obtained from the research at their disposal so they can apply all the knowledge acquired to their crops.
The hop harvest in Galicia will continue for a further two weeks in a year in which the plants have not reached full potential, due to unusual weather conditions, mainly an excessively cold and rainy spring.