Field day season had always been the time of year I look forward to most during my career in the Pacific Northwest wheat industry. I love analyzing the different plots of wheat, hearing about upcoming research and variety development, and most of all, I enjoy the social aspect of communicating with different members of the industry out of the office. So when I was asked to attend the Root Shoot field day I was excited for the opportunity. I was quickly informed that Root Shoot is a malting company that grows and malts LCS barley varieties and that we are expected to bring some LCS swag. Otherwise, I (naively) anticipated the typical field day routine.
Upon arrival, I quickly learned barley and beer take field days to another level of entertainment. Instead of plots of wheat for analyzing, there were fields of barley for combine demonstrations.
Opposed to just coolers of water there is also tubs of craft beer.
And talk about getting seedsmen out of the office, how about brewers and tap-house owners into fields of grain. In addition, there was beer, whiskey and gin tastings, food trucks, corn hole, giant janga, photo booths, great people and more. Root Shoot’s field day was my first Friday on the job in Colorado, I had to work “after-hours”, and there was honestly nowhere else I would have rather been.
With our booth of swag, we also had the opportunity to speak to each group of attendees out in the field. This was a welcomed opportunity for me watch the public speaking master in his element. Holding true to his reputation, Frank Curtis (LCS COO) did a wonderful job illustrating the full circle of craft brewing – from acres to ales – all while holding a glass of beer raised in the air. As Frank pointed out, it all started a few miles down the road at our headquarters in Fort Collins, where we provide the barley genetics. LCS Odyssey and LCS Genie are both part of Root Shoot’s malting program and demonstrations were given in the fields of these varieties. Given we were standing in fields of barley, it was evident the barley was grown locally and then hauled just down the road to Root Shoot where it was malted. The malt was then sold to local craft breweries, allowing us to toast with a beer just about as local as you can get.
Root Shoot’s field day was a wonderful introduction to the barley side of the cereal business that left me looking forward to more. It is now clear to me, barley + beer = better field days.