Why I Give: Jake Teselle, Co-Owner of Crooked Yard Hops
December 12, 2020
I grew up on our family farm just south of Bozeman, but I didn’t begin farming on my own until we started the Hop Yards in 2015. Hops are incredible to watch grow – not a lot of plants grow to 18 feet tall every year! Plus, they go into beer, and that’s a fun industry to be a part of. We have expanded our business every year since 2015, shipping hops all over Montana and the country. We are really focused on the small scale, sustainable, profitable farming for the future. We only operate on 17 acres, but we’re able to efficiently produce and harvest thousands and thousands of pounds of hops every year for our Brewer partners.
When COVID-19 hit hard in Mid-March 2020, we had just barely begun to work in our fields. The fear of the unknown was palpable and we had no idea what our return might be. Our largest farm rests on a property protected by a GVLT conservation easement, and knowing that the land we work is protected – and always will be – provided serious comfort during those tumultuous days. It is incredibly important to us that our farming operation is stable and sustainable for years to come and having the land protected under a conservation easement means a lot to us.
One of our primary goals as a business is to better connect the beer consumer to the agricultural production of the ingredients needed to make beer. Pre-COVID, we would do dozens of tours every summer to get more people out onto the farm and see how much work and land it takes to grow hops. Last October, we launched the Fresh Hop Brew Festival to connect the local farmers, beer drinkers, and brewers of the Gallatin Valley to raise proceeds for GVLT and promote their excellent work.
As a fifth generation farmer having grown up here in Bozeman, it’s heart wrenching year after year to watch farms being sold, paved over, and destroyed. If we aren’t careful, our generation is going to watch the Gallatin Valley become one giant parking lot. The conservation work of the GVLT means so much to me because they are working to conserve what we can while we still have time.