KENNEWICK, Wash. -- An overabundant crop and poor economy causing beer drinkers to go on a budget have produced a bittersweet hop harvest.
Growers were optimistic heading into the late-August harvest. The crop looked healthy and vines were stacked with cones.
But as August turned into September, the demand for hops cooled. Once quotas were met and contracts were satisfied, no spot market existed for the remainder of the crop.
Hopes were left on the vine.
"It's just an interesting harvest," said Stacy Puterbaugh of Puterbaugh Farms in Mabton. "We had great expectations when we started out and halfway through you find out there's too many."
Puterbaugh wouldn't say how many acres of hops he left in the field, but said, "Anything is significant when you can't harvest it. That's just how it goes."
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