Kludts Hop Farm

Kludts Hops Ranch — celebrating the harvest
Kludts Hops Ranch — celebrating the harvest

I don’t know much about these photos except that they are of the Kludts Hop Farm and that hop farming was an important crop for Washington State around the turn on the 20th century.

Here’s a small post about it from HistoryLink.org. Although it speaks primarily about King County, there was a lot of hop growing going on in Pierce County as well.

Hops Grown in Western Washington become an important world crop by 1882
In the early 1880s, Western Washington becomes one of the world’s major hop growing regions after blight destroys much of the European hop crop. Hops are a bitter plant in the hemp family used to flavor beer.

In 1882, King County farmers cultivated 200 acres that yielded 300,000 pounds of hops. The crop sold for $180,000 with expenses totaling a mere $30,000. As Thomas Prosch exclaims in his “Chronological History of Seattle…,” “Never before or since were prices so high” (287-288).

Farmers rapidly converted their land into hop fields. By 1888, more than six million pounds were harvested statewide and this increased to nine million pounds by 1890. King County supplied more hops than any other county. Native Americans provided much of the labor force to pick the hops.

Kludts Hop ranch (bins full of hops)
Kludts Hop ranch (bins full of hops)

Until 1889, the hop crop was disease-free. The hop aphid first appeared around 1889, and by 1891, whole fields were infested.

At the present time (2001), Washington state is the country’s Number One producer of hops. Most are now grown in the Yakima Valley.

Photos courtesy of Sharon and Terry Van Eaton.

Click on images to enlarge.

2 thoughts on “Kludts Hop Farm”

  1. Betty Loden Josephson

    I have some similar pictures of hop pickers although the pictures are not in as good shape. My Great-Grandmother, a young widow, came to the Silver Lake area from Arkansas around 1900 and the family worked picking hops. I’m always amused at the pickers adorned in hop vines.
    My Great-Grandmother became the third of five wives of George Kreger of Kreger Lake and her daughter, Lucy, married George’s son, Bob.

    1. Thank you for the information. And I would love to post your family’s hop pictures. I might be even able to tweak them a bit. I think the entire enterprise was fascinating.

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