Cheers! New hop machine first of its kind in area
BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL
Staff North Glengarry’s 2018 Excellence in Agriculture Award winner continues to make a name for itself.
During a brief press conference last Friday at the barn housing a recently-acquired system of hops milling and pelletizing machinery, Dalagra Farms president Kurt MacSweyn spoke highly of the impact it should have on the local agricultural community – on both the financial and domestic fronts.
“This machine will allow us to pelletize our own hops without having to spend money outside the community,” said Mr. MacSweyn, who is in the early stages of a partnership with Woods Brothers Brewing Co. in Glen Robertson.
“It also helps other hops growers. I know in talking to a few of them, they had to travel to Tweed before, driving three hours or whatever. They’d be up there for a couple of days and away from their young families. Now, they can drive here...go home at the end of the day if it is not done, and then come back the next morning.”
The hops pelletizing equipment – manufactured in the Czech Republic – cost just over $140,000.
It is currently the only system of its kind in the region.
Mr. MacSweyn told that he was impressed with the owner of the company that manufactured the equipment who “flew in from the Czech Republic, set up everything, and kind of did some test runs” for him after the machinery was procured in late November.
As for the addition of hops production and processing to Dalagra’s existing cash crop operations, he explained that an increasing number of craft breweries are switching to the smaller, processed/pelletized hops, thus creating a demand for the product.
“They like it (pelletized versions) because it’s a lot cleaner,” said Mr. MacSweyn.
“If they use the full hops, it kind of gums up a little bit, and it’s tougher to clean. And as far as storability, it takes up a lot less room, too.”
The total $140,000-plus price tag for the equipment was offset by a $20,000 grant from FedDev Ontario’s Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) approved this past May but not officially announced until last Friday.
The funding was distributed through the Cornwall and the Counties Community Futures Development Corporation, one of 15 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in eastern Ontario funded through FedDev Ontario.
BOON: Kurt MacSweyn explains how a new hop processor will benefit the agricultural community.
GRAND OPENING TODAY: The “bigger and better” MacEwenCounty Line gas station and convenience store in Lancaster opened last week but its official opening will be held today (December 19) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 11 a.m. The Maxville-based company invested $1.7 million in the new 3,035-square-foot facility on Military Road.