5 Ways to Celebrate our Hop Picking Past

Nostalgia fills the air in September, when we remember the years when Hare Farm was a hive of activity during hop harvest.

Back in the 50s and 60s, Hare Farm Oast was king pin, the most important building on the farm, receiving in the hops to dry in its three kilns and store until taken away. The fields were hop gardens and orchards, plus there was one very important grass field which housed over 100 hop pickers in tin and wooden huts. 

How times have changed. For 40 years since the hey days pre 1970 the Oast was a redundant farm building, not useful in modern day farming. To lose the Oast house would be unimaginable and in 2010 we embarked on a major undertaking to restore the Oast to its former glory.  A sensitive programme of building works has led to a formidable and stylish holiday home. Original hop pockets, hoists, shovels and other nostalgia have been preserved for us all so we never forget the Oast's historic and fascinating past. 

Hoist in oast house

September is the month to celebrate the once thriving hop growing industry, and the life-changing experiences it brought to thousands of families who left their urban homes to live on the Kent and Sussex hop farms for many weeks a year. They led a very simple, hard-working and happy life in the hop gardens. We met Tony last year who spent his childhood summers at Hare Farm and he wrote down his memories, and shared some photos here

5 Ways to get involved and celebrate the hop picking past

1. This weekend is the 15th Annual Hop Festival at Bodiam train station, hosted by the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Packed full of hopping nostalgia, real ales and music, it takes place on both Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September. More details can be found at www.kesr.co.uk.

2. Try some local ales from The Old Dairy Brewery, near Tenterden. Currently brewing this seaon's pickings to provide a Green Hop version, take a look at their fun challenge to get the hops from the vine to the copper within 25 minutes. View it here.  The Old Dairy Brewery beers feature also in our welcome pack for guests at the Oast. 

3. Visit the beautiful Great Dixter house and gardens just up the road in Northiam, East Sussex. With its great barn and oast house now restored and open to the public, their fascinating explanations in a wonderful setting make for a lovely afternoon out. See www.greatdixter.co.uk for more details. 

4. Spend a few hours at the National Trust's Scotney Castle and enjoy the cafe surroundings, full of oast house and hop picking photos. 

5.  Stay here at Hare Farm Oast . Sleep, cook, shower  in the round kilns. Immerse yourselves in a farm stay with stunning backdrops and a unique and wonderful past . 

 

Hop pocket at Hare Farm


Latest From Hare Talk

Jun

02
Preparing to Open Again
Preparing to Open Again

Nov

11
Lambing course dates set for 2020
Lambing course dates set for 2020

Jun

29
Richard Hammond films at Hare Farm
Richard Hammond films at Hare Farm