Salmon-Safe: Are Your Hops Fish-Friendly?

What is “Salmon-Safe?”  In its words, Salmon-Safe is a non-profit based in Portland, Oregon devoted to restoring agricultural and urban watersheds so that salmon can spawn and thrive. For over ten years Salmon-Safe has certified more than 50,000 acres of fish friendly farms and urban areas in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley. The Salmon-Safe label appears on products in over 200 supermarkets and natural food stores.

Indie Hops supports Salmon-Safe’s mission.  Goschie Farms is one of the two original hop farmers to be certified as Salmon-Safe.  Coleman Farms is in the process of obtaining its certification.  We are pleased to encourage Oregon hop farmers to grow in an ecologically friendly manner that protects biodiversity, reduces irrigation water use, applies natural methods to control weeds, and buffers run off from streams. 

Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, which showcases organic ingredients (mostly) in it’s delightful Green Lakes Organic Ale, summed it up nicely:

“Healthy rivers are very important to us at Deschutes, especially since it’s one of the main sources we tap into to make great beer. If we didn’t have clean rivers, our beer and the craft beer industry in Oregon wouldn’t be where it is today.”  (Click here to see the joint Salmon-Safe and Deschutes “Drink Like A Fish” marketing campaign.)

Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe’s general manager, has had success in encouraging Oregon wineries to obtain certification. He is optimistic that Oregon’s hop farmers will follow their lead, especially as more hop farmers follow Gayle Goschie’s lead in growing organically.  Dan predicts that as more hop acreage goes organic, Salmon-Safe certification will become much easier.

“We offer a fast-track Salmon-Safe certification program through Oregon Tilth so that growers can  receive USDA organic certification and Salmon-Safe certification in a single assessment,” said Kent.

“For organic growers, Salmon-Safe certification is less about pesticide and fertilizer inputs (though we do evaluate organic inputs that are still harmful to fish--copper for example) and more about irrigation efficiency, minimizing erosion, riparian protection, and landscape-level biodiversity conservation.”

Indie Hops is in the process of obtaining its certification from Oregon Tilth as an organic hop supplier.

At Indie Hops, we salute Salmon-Safe, Goshie Farms, Coleman Farmers and brewers like Deschutes Brewery.  There are many great craft breweries out there who feature the “USDA Organic” label on their excellent beers, even though they are not required to use organically grown hops, primarily because the latter have not been commercially available.  In the near future, we intend to bring to market high quality organically grown aroma hops so that brewers can go all the way, 100% organic.  In the meantime, all of our hops will be Salmon-Safe certified.


Salmon-Safe has become one of the nation's leading regional eco-friendly labels with more than 50,000 acres of farm and urban lands certified.

Salmon-Safe is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit devoted to restoring agricultural and urban watersheds so that salmon can spawn and thrive. They are based in Portland, Oregon.





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