Hops and Chickens in the Summer

There is no shortage of things to do on farm these days. With the busy days comes the immense reward of farm life. There is fresh chicken and vegetables on the table, the hops are flowering and starting to smell like fresh beer, and the raspberries have been amazing.

Farm update:

Here are some highlights from the farm to illustrate how great things are going:

hop farm
Many of our second year hop plants have topped 18 feet tall and are filling up with cones. Even the plants that didn’t get the height are filling out with the delicious beer ingredient.
hop flower
Inside these hop flowers lupulin is forming. While lupulin plays a major role in the bitterness and aroma of hops, it is also has a relaxing effect on the body which helps you mellow out, gives you confidence, and makes you a great singer.
sheep farm
This little critter is one of our sheep. They came on farm originally to help us prune the hop plants. Not surprisingly we have become attached. Now there is serious talk about expanding the herd as part of the farm. One thing is for certain, they’re darn cute.
tomato horn worm
This little devil has been plaguing our greenhouse tomatoes. The tomato horn worm will eat everything in its’ path. It’s a good thing we have feathered friends on the farm who love to eat them.
pastured poultry
When you walk up to the chicken coops with a little container of tomato horn worms just picked from the green house the chickens always seem to know. They come running for a snack. Why do you think our eggs have such a good protein count?
chickens on pasture
Waiting with bated breath for the next delivery of precisely plucked plump plant pests.
clown rooster
This rooster I have dubbed “The Clown”. I mean, look at the guy. He’s shy so you don’t always get a chance to spy him. I had to crawl under the coop for this picture. He’s an Americana rooster. When he sees you he runs away and it kind of sounds like he’s laughing. Maybe it’s all a game to him?
squash bed
Besides hops we are also growing a few other things for the brewery. Here we have a winter squash bed with some green beans mixed in. They will be ready and able to store for when they brewery is up and running. Update on that = next picture. (The green beans are for pickling.)
brewery foundation
The site is prepped for the brewery and the molds for the footings are in. As I write this the concrete is being poured for the beginning of the foundation. Very exciting!
chicken CSA
The chicken CSA has been going great this summer. We are loving seeing all the returning members each week as well as the regulars and new folks at the farmers’ market. Here a batch of broilers hangs out during the day in one of our chicken tractors. The pink spots on them are where they haven’t grown feathers because of the heat. Completely normal, if not a little weird looking.
building mobile chicken coops
Because we love our chickens so much we are constantly working to improve their living situation. Here Nick is adding a deck extension to hold feeders for the laying hens. Their coop has gone through a bunch of upgrades and the hens seem to really like it. Next we need to make little rocking chairs for the new deck.
farm baby
What would be a blog post without a picture of everyone’s favorite farm baby? Mabel says, “hello.” Though it might not sound anything like that. She can say, “Da Da,” though, and it makes me melt. It kind of looks like Kate is pushing the swing with mind powers.
farm flowers
Now this sure is purdy! Thanks for stopping in, enjoying the photos, and supporting the farm!

Spring on a Chicken and Hop Farm

Sustainable farming begins and end with diversity. Having more than one agricultural operation in operation makes for a more balanced farm. We have a couple of different operations here at Camps Road Farm, but let’s focus on two for a second. Chicken and hops.


pastured organic eggs
These are a group of our laying hens. They love coming out of their coops each morning and searching for bugs that landed in the pasture over night.

The main focus of the farm for now is pastured poultry. All the other areas of the farm revolve around what is best for the chickens. We go to great lengths to make sure our birds are happy, and that they place nicely with the rest of the farm.

Chicken manure is a great fertilizer in the right dose. We keep our birds moving around farm, and they keep us supplied with manure. Both our egg laying hens and our broilers rotate on pasture and live life out doors.

pastured poultry
Our pastured broilers are different kinds of birds completely. They live their lives in chicken tractors which suits them just fine. There are no floors on the tractors and they are moved daily to ensure fresh pasture and no manure build up.
building a chicken tractor
With the expansion of the farm to incorporate the Chicken CSA we got busy building more chicken tractors for our birds in the field. We have a total of 24 tractors that house 30 birds a piece. If you do the math, that’s a lot of birds to manage.
chickens in chicken tractors
The broilers in the chicken tractors have certified organic feed that is free from GMOs. You can see they have plenty of grass, water from the orange bucket, and lots of fresh air. Those are the ingredients for the best chicken you have ever had.


As we are working toward having a production brewery on site, having a hop yard up and running is a big focus around here. When Kent Falls Brewing Company opens its’ doors for the first time our beer will have hops from the farm and grain from local growers. It takes a while for hops to get established, so we had to get an early start.

tying coir
Farm Manager Barry is tying one of the 1000 plus strands of coir that is used to trellis the hops. The hop bines (bines not vines) grow up the coir and are harvested in the fall. The hops reach 18+ feet high during the growing season. It has been no small task getting all those lines up.
mulching hops
Brewer Barry and Farmer Sarah spread mulch around the hops plants. The mulch keeps weeds down, helps with moisture retention, and will keep the plants a little warmer in the winter.

Put it Together

Putting chickens in the hop yard holds several benefits. It helps fertilize, the chickens mow the grass down, and they even add pest protection. Last year we had a problem with Japanese Beetles until we put the chickens in the hop yard. The beetles flew into the chicken’s waterers and the chickens ate them right up. Everyone was happy (except the beetles).

chicken and hops
These are our chicken tractors moving through our hop yard. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Spring on the Farm is Beautiful!

farm house
There has been a good balance of rain and sun here. The color green is exploding everywhere, and the farm is simply stunning.
farm baby
Of course I had to show off Mabel. She is getting bigger every day. In the last couple weeks she took her first steps, said, “Da Da!”, and her top teeth are poking out. She’s been busy. It feels amazing to be able to raise a kid on a farm.