Hops is the flower that flavors beer, but there's a local candy maker putting the plant to another use.
She makes LolliHops. Lollipops flavored with hops.
"Yakima Valley grows 77 percent of US hops, so it's kind of our thing," said Heather Hadsel, a lifelong resident of this region.
Hadsel thought the plant had potential to flavor more than just IPA's, and when she decided to make candy with it in the fall of 2014, a relative told her she'd better -- sorry -- hop to it.
"My aunt was like 'you need to hurry and trademark it before you talk to too many people.' and so we did!" Hadsel said. And Yakima Hop Candy was born.
Her father-in-law let her add a commercial kitchen to his medical building -- crowdfunding raised 600 bucks to buy the stove --
and Hadsel got to work making suckers with a hoppy hit.
Candy runs in this family: Hadsel's grandma once made four-thousand pounds of peanut brittle to raise money to build a church in the early '60s.
Her granddaughter's just working with homemade hop butter instead of peanuts.
Each LolliHop is hand poured, and this candy maker adds other flavors to her pops, just like microbrewers do to their beer. Grapefruit and Chili Lime are two popular flavors.
So, what do these things taste like? At first, they're sweet. But then comes the kick that's been known to make both children and grown men weep.
For completely different reasons.
No, you can't get buzzed by eating a LolliHop. But you can get a taste of Yakima Valley hops that's unlike anything that's ever been poured into a pint glass.
"It's not a really universally appealing flavor, but it you like hoppy beers, you'll love it!"
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