Leslie Von Pless believes social change is best captured on film.
And one of the faster growing issues she’s latched on to? Hops, and the people who grow them.
“What I think is most important is not only the types of hops and how it’s made, but how it’s contributing to the local economy,” the New York City resident said.
A Central New York transplant – she grew up in Liverpool – Von Pless saw the craft beer movement spreading across the country, but wanted to explore it from its natural roots in New York. She chose several Mohawk Valley farmers for her documentary “Hopped Upstate: Rise of Hop Farming in New York,” which was released at the end of September.
The 15-minute film mostly features Dave Pasick and his wife Kayla of Szaro Farms, who fell into hops growing when they discovered the flower-like cones used to bitter and flavor beer creeping up the side of a barn on their Schuyler property.
Von Pless filmed the family starting up in the fledgling business of hops growing. In their first year, the Pasicks picked a “measly five pounds” of hops they were then able to send to the F. X. Matt Brewing Co. for part of its Wet Hop IPA.
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