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Hoffman hangs hopes on hops

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Hop harvest

Josh Brock of Hoffman Appalachian Farm breaks apart a hop nugget left over from the fall harvest at his farm in St. Marys. (Photo by Katie Weidenboerner)

ST. MARYS — Clad in a weathered Penn State shirt, muddy work boots, and a face full of rebellious bristles, Josh Brock doesn’t look like the typical entrepreneur.

But he’s as passionate as any in describing his new endeavor, Hoffman Appalachian Farm.

In his second year of working the fields surrounding his childhood home on Taft Road in St. Marys, his modest hop yard is set to expand from 30 to 400 plants in the next year – a level of growth that still doesn’t begin to meet demand.

Following the most recent hop harvest, Brock has spent long hours in the last days of the summer heat, plowing and heaving heavy rocks from the fields into a pickup truck in preparation for the farm’s first planting of barley and rye – two other staples of the beer brewing process.

When asked how the fields came to be, the answer is both simple and complex.

Read more about the Hoffman Appalachian Farm in week's Tri-County Sunday.

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