Gail and Phil established GoodLot Farm in 2009, returning to Gail’s hometown. We purchased the old Pinkney Family Farm (first established in 1839 on the 200 acres of what was known as Lot 18 back then).
We spent our first year researching a variety of speciality crops that would be suitable for our soil. As we were already keen explorers of craft beer, we soon determined that organic hop farming would be our pursuit. After lots of study and education, in 2011 we established our first hop yard with 125 different plants (Cascade, Nugget, Mt Hood, Fuggle, Willamette, Golding). That same year we co-founded the Ontario Hop Growers Association with a bunch of other new hop growers.
Finding some level of “success’, we built another hop yard and planted an additional 1500 rhizomes, this time focusing on Cascade and Nugget which seemed best suited to our farming conditions.
Farming is generally a difficult pastime, and farming hops organically is challenging at the best of times. Add to this the effects of climate change, and well, a small specialty farm is certainly vulnerable to seasonal failure.
But soon enough we had some great clients (thank you Nickel Brook Brewing, Muskoka, Wellington) and started brewing alongside some of the great brewers (thank you Mary Beth Keefe at Granite Brewery and Paul Dickey from Cheshire Cat). We also began to get feedback on the unique flavor and aromas of our hops. This led us to begin investigating the terroir of hops, and the possibility of developing a specific flavor profile in beer that best suited what we were growing here at GoodLot.
Meet the Team
The folks at GoodLot are community builders, always striving to expand the circle for all to share. We love creating deeper connections with our neighbours, other farmers and brewers, and are seriously grateful for good beer, good laughs and the dirt under our nails
L – R: Danielle Merrithew, Mike Brooks, Gail Winters, Luke Dupre, Chelsea Gomes, Phil Winters.
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