Washington hops harvest under way in Yakima Valley

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MABTON, Wash. (AP) -- The hops harvest is in full swing in the Yakima Valley where growers are collecting and processing the plants that flavor beer.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports (http://bit.ly/nPncB7 ) Washington leads the nation in hop production, but the harvest in the state is down about 5 percent this year to about 23,000 acres. Acreage peaked in 2008 at nearly 31,000 acres.

Ann George of the Washington Hop Commission says the decline is the result of oversupply. A bright spot in the industry has been the growth of farms that supply craft brewers.

One farm in Mabton operates as the Hops Direct company and sells hops online to small brewers around the world.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com