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Farm-To-Table Movement Hops On The Craft Beer Wagon

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- The farm-to-table movement has hopped past fruit and vegetables and has started to meet a growing demand for craft beer.

With the need for locally grown ingredients rising more farmers have jumped on the beer wagon, CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

Cornell graduate John Condzella, 27, leased land on his parents' East End farm to grow hops. The vines curl up 30-foot trellises and poles and branch out into flowers known as hops. Hops give beer much of its flavor and aroma.

"We are passionate about cultivating a quality ingredient that can be used locally by craft breweries," Condzella said.

He is part of a growing number of people who are part of the farm-to-table movement and want their food and drink grown locally. His ambitions are sky-high.

In the 1920's prohibition wiped hops farms off of the map in New York and sent most of the business to Europe and the Pacific Northwest.

For Condzella the keys to success are good soil, sun, patience, practice, and a harvester. CBS 2 followed his hops from the farm to the brewmaster.

The Port Jeff Brewing Company uses 3 to 28-lbs of hops per batch and the difference in freshness is startling, according to tasters.

An online campaign helped Condzella raise 440-thousand for a harvesting machine from Germany to tackle the otherwise impossible task of picking his crop.

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