Community

Hops & Crops Harvest Festival on tap at Olson Farm

The Hops & Crops Harvest Festival – a benefit to help restore and conserve efforts at historic Mary Olson Farm – will take 1-6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the historic landmark, located at 28728 Green River Road, Auburn.

Festival-goers can sample the taste of beer from Two Beers Brewing Co., Big Al Brewing, Harmon Brewing Co., Georgetown Brewing Company, Airways Brewing Company and Trade Route Brewing Co., and enjoy live music from octet Grand Hallway, singer Kelli Schaefer and folk band Big Sur.

Hops & Crops has partnered with the Auburn International Farmers Market to create a diverse marketplace of crafters, farmers and artisans. The festival also has partnered with Auburn Youth Council to provide a Soda Garden, where kids can tickle their taste buds.

General admission is $5 for ages 13 and older. Kids under 13 are free with an accompanying adult. Sampler admission for ages 21 and over is $10 and includes a commemorative cup and three taster tokens. Cups are limited to the first 1,500 sampler admissions.

For more information about Hops & Crops, including what items you can bring into the festival and what should be left at home, visit www.wrvmuseum.org/hopsandcrops.html or call the White River Valley Museum at 253-288-7433.

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HOPS FARMING IN THE WHITE RIVER VALLEY

Ezra Meeker, pioneer and entrepreneur, brought the first hop-vine cuttings into the region in the mid-1860s. He shared them with other farmers and soon farms in the White River Valley and Puyallup, such as the Mary Olson Farm, were raising hops as cash crops.

In the 1880s and 1890s, White River Valley farmers found themselves in the middle of a "hops craze." Disastrous crop losses in Europe had driven prices for hops to an all-time high and it was actually more economical for European brewers to purchase hops from the United States.

Farmers in Washington, Oregon and Northern California enthusiastically turned to growing hops to fill the European demand. Local hops were raised, dried, baled and shipped to Britain for brewing beer, making Meeker and other area farmers quite wealthy.

From 1882 to 1906, hops farming produced more Pacific Northwest riches than the timber or salmon industries. Alfred and Mary Olson grew hops and after Alfred's death in 1887, his probate records showed the hops crop represented his most valuable asset.

ABOUT THE MARY OLSON FARM

The White River Valley Museum is working with the City of Auburn to restore Mary Olson Farm, the most intact 1880s family farm in King County. The farm is a King County Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Significant features include an 1897 barn, a 1902 farmhouse, a century-old orchard and three salmon runs in Olson Creek. Mary Olson Farm is slated to officially open to the public in early 2011 as a living history and environmental learning site.

ABOUT THE WHITE RIVER VALLEY MUSEUM

The White River Valley Museum is a partnership with the City of Auburn and combines history and culture to create an exciting and educational experience for visitors. Museum collections focus on Puget Sound history, Northwest Indian culture, Japanese immigration and the Northern Pacific Railroad. According to the 2007 Washington State Visitors Guide, the White River Valley Museum is the best local history museum in the state.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 918 H St. S.E. in Auburn. Regular admission is $2 adults, $1 seniors and children. Admission is free on Wednesdays and the fourth Sunday of the month. Call 253-288-7433 or visit www.wrvmuseum.org for event information.

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