The beer industry is always a fascinating one to take a look at, as beer was one of the first industrialized food and beverage products. The focus for the first segment of this episode will be on the recent global shortage of hops - the key flavouring component of most beers. At the March 2008 Certified Organic Associations of BC conference, Host Jon Steinman sat down with brewer and farmer Rebecca Kneen of Sorrento, BC's, Crannòg Ales. Crannòg is Canada's only Certified Organic farmhouse microbrewery and growing on the farm are some of the hops that end up in their beers. In 2002, Kneen published a manual on small-scale organic hop growing and she is extremely excited at the attention the manual has received since the hops shortage hit home.
We also listen in on a workshop hosted at the COABC conference by Biodynamic farmer and egg producer Karl Hann. Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats the farm as a unified and individual organism, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Hann's presentation was titled "The Good, The Bad and The Balance". He explored the importance of microorganisms in the soil and uses the biodynamic farming philosophy to convincingly illustrate how disruptive and destructive most dominant farming practices are today.
Rebecca Kneen, Craft Brewer / Farmer, Crannòg Ales (Sorrento, BC) - Crannog Ales is Canada's only Certified Organic farmhouse microbrewery, one of only a handful of such breweries in the world. They brew unfiltered, unpasteurized ales using only organic ingredients, some of which come right from their own farm - Left Fields. Located on the farm is a hopyard, which is home to over seven varieties of hops. The hopyard forms the basis for ongoing research into organic small-scale hop production.
Karl Hann, Farmer, Biota Farm (Abbotsford, BC) - Karl is a biodynamic farmer and egg producer. He was a Green Party candidate for the Abbotsford riding during the 2004 federal election. Karl was born and raised in Romania and has been living and farming in Canada for over 20 years.