Hop Evenings and Harvest

Samuel Ödmann (1750-1829)
Samuel Ödmann (1750-1829) Engraving by Gunnar Forssell (1859-1903) after a painting by Johan Gustaf Sandberg (1782-1854)

The author Elin Wägner writes the following:

“It is known how wonderfully enchanting Samuel Ödmann depicted his youth’s hop evenings and cheese meetings in his grandpa Wiesel’s rectory.”

What Elin Wägner refers to is the later professor of theology, Samuel Ödmann (1750-1829) and his description of his youth in the book “Remembrance from my village history and the School”. Wiesel’s rectory is Vislanda’s Old Rectory where Ödmann grew up.

Samuel Ödmann writes the following about the hop evenings in the rectory:

German hop plants in HopValley that will be harvested within a week.”The third of the house’s feasts was the hop evenings. Kronoberg County has a strong hop planting tradition, and in September month, hop harvesting was evening work in the most rectories. With this in itself, not uplifting work, after a hard day’s work vid the grain harvest, the ancient time had included a little entertainment. At dusk, a large fire was kindled, while the farmworkers carried in and in front of the stove piled up a large pile of hop plants. Within a few minutes, the whole house sat around this stack to pick hops. But as this work, which continued for many evenings in a row

German hop plants in HopValley

until 10 and 11 o’clock, is very sleepy in spirit, the participants were offered beer, and to keep their eye awaken, it was demanded of everybody to tell a fairy tale from ancient times. From the hop-picking, only the priest and his wife were relieved. But the storytelling was always opened by the priest and then went around to the adjunct, daughters, male and female farmworkers. Everybody had prepared their selves ahead, and those who had heard something funny kept it until the hop evenings. You could think that you had entered an Icelandic evening-gathering. The house’s way to socialize with the servants, the farmworkers, resulted in that nobody hesitated to bring forward something from their stockpile. Everybody kept attention to the storyteller, and when one had ended a story the next sitting in line started with the common prologue: One upon a time … This freedom is quite useful to unite the servants and free, and av house creates a heart and a soul.”

This was work associated with the pleasure of storytelling, while the unmarried got an opportunity to flirting, as well as a way of natural social association between masters and servants.

Here in HopValley, we have now harvested all the hops from Swedish plants, and within a week it is time to harvest our German plants. These have grown surprisingly well, despite very late planting, June 15 this year. There will be a harvest of approximately a few kilos.

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