Business-in-residence Spotlight: Ribbon Farm Hops


What do they do?

Ribbon Farm Hops, LLC is an urban farm that grows hops in southwest Detroit, selling them to home brewers and small batch craft breweries. They also use them to make specialty gift items, such as relaxation pillows and ornaments.

In addition to growing hops for brewers, RFH has also partnered with Detroit Tube Products, an industrial tube bending company based in Southwest Detroit, to design and manufacture a trellis system they hope to make available to other hop growers. You can see a prototype of their trellis system on the patio of Batch Brewing Company in Corktown!

The Start:

Ribbon Farm Hops (RFH) was founded in February 2013 as a result of Susan Mccabe’s decision to change her career after 30+ years of working in museums. Learning about the history of hops through her former job as a museum curator, Susan became thoroughly intrigued and decided that this was the career for her. Thus, she traveled to Wisconsin to take her first hop-growing class. After convincing her family and friends that growing hops would be a great adventure, she formed her company.

Furthermore, in the fall of that year, Susan competed in an Entrepreneur You! competition funded by the Michigan Women’s Foundation. Winning second place in the competition provided Susan with seed funding for her company, as well as recognition and support. Shortly after that, Susan moved into the Green Garage, where RFH’s administrative work is based.



Ribbon Farm Hops goals include:  

  1. Expanding: As of now, RFH is looking at a larger land plot in Detroit. However, they hope to remain small to maintain their quality hops and provide locally sourced products to their consumers.
  2. Remaining Sustainable: As of now, they harvest rainwater off of the building next to their farm. Furthermore, RFH does not use pesticides in their growing practice. They hope to continue these activities at their next location.
  3. Maintain Relationships with Customers: Over the last four years, Susan says that RFH has established some great relationships with their customers. “I really enjoy that part of the business and I hope that continues.”
  4. Launching the Trellis System project: They hope to refine their trellis design and take the product to market, promoting and facilitating hops growing throughout southeast Michigan and beyond.

Education background: Susan McCabe (1)

Susan worked in the museum profession for over thirty years, pursuing a career she had decided in high school was her passion. As a result, right out of high school, she attended Moravian College, a small liberal arts college in her hometown of Bethlehem, PA, where she studied History and Art History.

After that, she obtained a Masters in History Museum Studies at the State University of New York at Oneonta, Cooperstown Graduate Program. While there she focused on museum education, but during her career as a museum curator, she primarily worked in collections and administration.  

Susan’s Advice:

Find a passion, and prepare for it to change throughout time. Therefore, do not fear experimentation. Most importantly, don’t buy into the belief that you must know your career when starting college because, “college is the time to learn about your interests, passions, and skills.”

Want to learn more about Ribbon Farm Hops and how to get involved? Visit their website at Ribbon Farm Hops, LLC

Green Garage business-in-residence spotlights are written by Nehe-Miah Scarborough, a student at Detroit Cristo Rey High School who’s interning with the Green Garage.


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