Willet Hop & Grain

Willet Hop and Grain is a central New York hop and grain farm. We are committed to researching, trialing and growing the best possible hops available.  Willet Hop & Grain is focused on delivering the highest quality ingredients to our valued customers.

The Owners

Chuck Rhoades - Owner

In 1979, I graduated from Penn State University as a Civil Engineer and immediately entered the construction business.  In 1992, with business partner Rod Parker, we founded Chenango Contracting, Inc. in Johnson City, NY.  This business provides lining systems for the environmental market and has now installed over 500 million square feet of geosynthetic liners.  In 2005, I led Chenango into the artificial turf business and Chenango is now the distributor/installer for FieldTurf in upstate NY. We send our crews far beyond the border of NY and have been fortunate to have performed some very high profile work.     

Some of Chenango Contracting’s accomplishments include multiple turf installations at Syracuse, Cornell, Colgate, and West Point Military Academy, Notre Dame University, University of Michigan and University of Minnesota.

Back in the early 90’s, a couple of good friends and I were brewing beer as a hobby, which was always a good time.  We talked about opening a brew pub then, but it was before we had either the means or the time.  Always very interested in farming and agriculture,  I became very intrigued by New York’s dominance in the hops industry over a century ago, and would like to join the many others who are working diligently to return this state to a prominent position in that business.

My son Christopher and son in law Brendan caught the brewing bug as well. After several years of brewing on the weekends, we opened the Beer Tree Brew Co. in Port Crane, NY. Many of the hops and grains that we grow go right to that brewery. 

I have been blessed to be surrounded by great, hard-working people and a fantastic family!  My wife Judy (also known as Mrs. Douglas to you Green Acres fans) is handling our facebook account and, on occasion, has even been known to put on her barn boots.     

We will work hard to provide you with the best quality NY State produced hops and grains! 

Lee Rutan - Farm Manager

Lee was driving a tractor shortly after he learned to walk.  As a next door neighbor to the farm, he can drive it to work now!  Born into the family of another lifelong farmer, Lee learned the value of hard work at a very young age.  He has been known to keep the neighbors up plowing past dark.  The entire Rutan clan including wife Melissa, two sons and a daughter have been in the fields planting hops.  Lee is great with the animals and is pretty proud of the Herefords that we are raising. Lee is working hard to figure out the hops and we have had some pretty great looking crops.      

The Farm

In 2014 we bought the first section of the farm and started planning our hops fields. We planted a bit and worked pretty extensively on the trellis.

We had a wee hop harvest in 2015.

In 2016 we bought a little more land. We planted a rye crop that turned out pretty well.

In 2017 we bought a few Hereford cattle.

We purchased a little over 400 acres in 2018 and the farm is now approximately 800 acres.

We raise cattle and pigs, hops, barley, rye, spelt, lots of hay, sweet corn, field corn, and buckwheat. And we make maple syrup.