Ask any brewer and they’ll tell you straight: the quality of your beer directly depends upon the quality of your ingredients. In today’s market, few ingredients are as important to beer as hops. And while “quality” can be a subjective term, many brewers agree—HAAS hops are a cut above.
That’s why John I. Haas is proud to announce that HAAS’ own Yakima Golding Farm was recently awarded the Global GAP Certification, the worldwide standard for good agricultural practices.
“We’re very proud of this certification because it reflects the quality practices we’ve long held as core to our operations at HAAS Yakima Golding Farm,” Mark Sechser, Farm Manager for HAAS recently told us. “It also underscores our commitment to sustainable farming practices that are so important to our industry—and to future generations.”
HAAS has been growing the finest hops in Washington’s Yakima Valley for more than 100 years. Today, HAAS continues to operate one of the larger farms in the area.
“We have about 2,000 acres, which makes us the 5th or 6th largest hop farm in the area,” Sechser said. “We run three different picking facilities at the farm, with drying and baling as well. We grow 12 different commercial varieties and 10–12 experimental varieties, depending on the season.”
Global GAP is a strict certification that requires growers to adhere to specific programs and procedures that ensure food safety. “After all,” says Sechser, “it’s really important to know where food comes from. Obviously, the same applies to beer.” This means conducting strict risk assessments for things like soil contamination and exposure to pollutants.
“But, as farmers, sustainability is equally important,” says Sechser. “For instance, we have 100% drip irrigation on HAAS Yakima Golding Farm, which is extremely important for water management. But we also work to use organic fertilizer as much as possible, we monitor soil erosion…it’s very comprehensive. And it all directly impacts the hops we grow, and the beer our customers brew.”
After 30 years with HAAS (the last 20 of which have been spent managing HAAS Yakima Golding Farms), Sechser has a certain amount of perspective.
“I think the Global GAP certification is a formal validation of the good practices and incredibly high standards we’ve always had in place at HAAS,” says Sechser. “After all, quality hops are the heart of our business—and we’ve been supplying the world’s best hops to the world’s best brewers for generations.”
To learn more about Global GAP, you can visit their website at www.globalgap.org.