Category Archives: Hops Fields

Hops Fields

July 28, 2020
Have you ever noticed the hops plants growing on the field at Bigham Knoll at the east end of E Street?  The German-speaking immigrants who contributed so much to early Jacksonville culture also brought with them their recipes for German lager with its pronounced flavors of malt and hops.  Joseph Wetterer and Veit Shutz were 2 of the most prominent early brewers.  Initially, these early brewmeisters probably grew their own hops, a flowering vine trained to grow on tall strings strung between posts. Really tall strings. So tall, in fact, that before the advent of hop harvesting machinery, farm workers had to use stilts to tend the plants. Harvesting hops was so labor intensive before mechanical harvesters were invented that entire families of migrant farm workers took part in the harvesting process, taking advantage of the plentiful work and employment opportunities.