Siciliano's Market News, March 6 Edition

A big weekend sale on premium cigars, information on pre-ordering hop plants and a reminder that the entry window for this year's homebrew competition is now open.

The walk-in humidor at Siciliano's

By Steve Siciliano

Last week when the temperature was stuck in the twenties and a north wind made it painful to be outside, I hunkered down with a glass of bourbon and thought about a few of the times last summer when I was wading in a river. I remembered that sultry June evening on the Rogue. A storm was blowing in and I was about to call it quits when a big brown slammed my woolly bugger. There was nothing to do then but fight the brute in the monsoon and hope that a bolt of electricity wouldn’t strike my nine foot graphite lightening rod.

Then there was that July morning when it was so hot I had to keep splashing the Little Man’s cold water on my face and that scorching afternoon in August when I tripped on a rock in the Sauble and stayed down for a few minutes to cool off. That’s what I thought about on that frigid February evening last week. I’m not sure if it was the whiskey or those warming summertime angling memories, but when I went outside to grill some steaks it didn’t seem to be quite as cold.

Speaking of warmth, last Sunday marked the beginning of meteorological spring which means the days are getting longer and the average daily temperatures are rising. That also means I'll be fly fishing again soon and will be able to smoke a cigar outside without freezing my tush off. To celebrate the onset of spring we’re running an incredible weekend sale on cigars. Buy three or more premium cigars, get 10 % off. Sale runs through Sunday, 3/8.

Continuing with the warming weather motif, it’s a sure sign that winter is waning when we announce that it’s time to pre-order hop plants. If you are looking to establish or expand a hop garden this spring, the folks at Sandy Ridge Farms in Zeeland, Michigan, are once again supplying us with established plants. According to the growers at Sandy Ridge, the advantages to purchasing established hop plants versus rhizomes are three-fold:

  • An established plant eliminates the risk of questionable viability as often found with rhizomes. It is typically recommended to plant more than one rhizome per pot/hole which increases costs.

  • An established plant with a developed root system and mature top growth will produce larger yields in the first 2 years than a planted rhizome.

  • Hop plants are susceptible to virus and disease out in the hop yard. A rhizome from an infected plant will produce another infected plant. Plants are obtained from the National Clean Plant Network at Washington State University where they are virus/viroid tested prior to being shipped. Sandy Ridge Farms has a strict protocol in place regarding clean plants and preventative pest-management. A healthy plant produces more hop cones.

We will be taking hop plant pre-orders now through the end of business on Sunday, March 29. Those wishing to place orders may do so via email (steve@sicilian