The Beer is Here!
For 60 years, hops, a basic ingredient in beer, were the main industry in the Agassiz Area of British Columbia. At the height of the business, 300 acres of a total holding of 450 acres were planted with hops. The first hop yards, planted in 1892, belonged to the B.C. Hop Company.
Hops were harvested from August to early October every year and during that time Agassiz prospered. With the arrival of a thousand pickers, the town's normal population swelled to 15 hundred and business flourished.
Many town merchants increased their sales by setting up small stalls beside the hop yards to serve the pickers. Reliable men with teams of horses were hired to plow and cultivate the hop fields. In the early days pickers came exclusively from First Nation families but later the work force included locals and Chinese immigrants who had come to Canada to work on the CPR line. Many plants were destroyed by downy mildew around 1935 and as it began to spread, pesticides were used but the sprays proved to be expensive and ineffective. Still, from 1939 to 1945 the hop industry boomed in Agassiz. The Famous Fraser River flood of 1948 annihilated the hop fields, the industry rapidly declined and in 1952 the hop yards moved to the Creston Valley. The fertile soil that had for 60 years nourished a bounty of hops, was planted with corn and hay as dairy farms began to prosper in the Agassiz area.
This October, Harrison Hot Springs will present the first of what we hope will be an annual event, The Harrison Beer Fest. Get your tickets early and join us on October 26th and 27th for what already promises to be this years hottest hop happening!! http://www.harrisonbeerfest.com/