i understand the economics of it and all but it always galls be a bit when I hear things like this. I imagine with hop breeding it's still not as overwhelming a consideration as it is in, say, potato farming. But to make a selection on ease of mechanical harvesting over flavor/aroma seems so wrong somehow.
If they didn't do that, your selection of hops would be severely limited and astronomically expensive. And just becasue the plant has large cones doesn't automatically eliminate it. Jason Perrault, who owns the farm where we saw 50K+ experimental varieties, said that if the plant exhibited some outstanding characteristic they'd try to work on cone size.
I totally understand. I'm just of the school that would rather spend the extra to get amazing french fingerling potatoes that had to be harvested with less efficient equipment because they taste better and I'm eating for enjoyment as much as for sustenance. when it comes to beer, I'm drinking purely for enjoyment so really the cost of ingredients doesn't come into the equation for me if the flavor is there.
Likely, given the market for these kinds of hops, hop breeders aren't looking first at ease of harvest. It's just another factor and a factor that could easily be overwhelmed by an outstanding flavor/aroma characteristic.
anyway, thankfully, there will always be at least a few farmers out there willing to charge me lots of money for their 'heirloom', 'craft', or 'artisinal' produce.