Scott Grahl & Stephanie Willis
Winding River Hops – Grant Award: $6,000
“The grant enabled us to do a complete acre verses a half-acre, and, I think, do it correctly – establishing a good solid permanent trellising system from the get-go. Plus, the interest and help we’ve had (from Cooperative Extension) – the outsource of knowledge – has been a blessing.” ~ Scott Grahl
Stephanie has raised boer goats and Australian cattle dogs since 1999, and previous generations of Willis’ family grew tobacco on her property. She and Scott form Winding River Hops, alongside Ty & Patti Wilson, who propagate orchids.
With the award, they are demonstrating how to grow hops in Haywood County, testing different varieties, trellising systems, nutrient and irrigation requirements. They will market “wet hops” to local micro-breweries, eliminating the costly, time consuming element of drying.