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Amateur hopgrowers give Deal beer project a great start

By Eleanor Perkins

A hop-growing project in Deal is brewing nicely with more than 100 gardens, allotment holders, community gardens and spaces signed up.

Deal With It, the town's green community group, announced its plans to make a special Deal beer with the involvement of the community in January.

Organisers, including Steve Wakeford, have since been overwhelmed by the number of people keen to get involved.

Martha Trust will be taking part in Deal With It's Community Hop Growing project

Martha Trust will be taking part in Deal With It's Community Hop Growing project

He said: “We have had an amazing response. People just love the idea of community-grown beer.”

Martha Trust, a charity looking after people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, is among those who have offered use of their garden space.

Mr Wakeford said: “We’re especially pleased to welcome Martha Trust on board.

"The key aspect of our project has been to bring the entire community together in a common enterprise and to reflect one of Deal’s great strengths – its diversity.”

George White, chief executive of Martha Trust, said: “It is fantastic for us to be involved in such a great community project such as this. The growing of hops is a wonderful opportunity for the residents to get outside in the fresh air, plant the hop and monitor the progress as it grows.

“I have a feeling we will also have a number of volunteers to assist in drinking the proceeds in the fullness of time!”

Deal Hop Farm will now focus on the planting process as timing is crucial to the success of the project.

Volunteers will distribute hop plants to members at the Landmark Garden on Fridays and Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm from Friday, March 3, to March 11.

They will also be organising a number of talks and workshops on the history of hops and beer-making, tips for growing and planning for harvest in September, and Deal Oktoberfest where people will get to taste the fruit of their labours.

For more details see dealwithit.org.uk

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