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StFX Working With Fiddlehop Farms

Evan Price, president of FiddleHop Farms in Glenholme, was in Halifax on Monday as a recipient of the Tier 1 level of the Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.

“Through this program, it will allow us to do some industry research on the hops,” said Price, who established the farm, which also grows and distributes fiddleheads, in 2010. “We will be partnering with Dr. David Morgan from St. FX. He’s a chemical biologist and will break down the plant matter into its components.”

He said Morgan will analyze those components to see if there are any additional benefits to plant, other than tasting great in a glass.

“This could be a good benefit to the local microbrewery industry,” said Price. “Microbreweries could get a better product locally, which could help them produce better or more beer around it.”

Hops is used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer, and Price, when he started growing hops, established a five-year contract with Garrison Brewing Co. in Halifax.

The Tier 1 voucher through the program, offered by the Department of Agriculture, is valued at $15,000.

If the outcome of the research is confirmed, it could mean moving on to Tier 2, valued at $25,000, which could lead to a design experiment.

“Those that are successful in the first round are eligible to apply for the second,” he said. “There are two outcomes of the first round – either no hypothesis or confirmation.”

The voucher is a credit note that small and medium-sized enterprises can use to acquire help from Nova Scotia universities and colleges that they need to help make their businesses more innovative and productive.

Eligible service areas include applied research, industrial/process engineering services, scientific/technology related advice and support, proof of concept, field testing, product evaluation and certification, prototyping, product design, feasibility studies necessary to help move a new, innovative product or service to market, and eco-efficiency audits.