Abbey Pomeroy Sass, Co-owner of Civil Sass Hops in Chatfield, answers 10 questions for Rochester Magazine.
Rochester Magazine: My last 10 or so Questions was with Thomas Finley, a Bigfoot artist. Do you believe in Bigfoot?
Abbey Sass: I don’t know. I mean, I believe in ghosts and such.
RM: Have you ever seen a ghost?
AS: Not personally. I feel like you feel them, though.
RM: Can you make a full-time job out of being a hop farmer?
AS: That’s the plan. The first two years were a soft launch for us, in the sense of really feeling out the market, figuring out where we wanted to go with our hops and how we wanted to have them represented locally. [Husband] Jake lived and worked full-time in Arizona the last two years. So we got married and I moved there with him. I came back here April through October each year and farmed by myself on his family farm. I became best friends with my in-laws. We moved back full-time right before the holidays.
RM: Have you drunk beer made with your hops yet?
AS: Oh, a lot of it. Yeah. It’s really quite good. Karst Brewing Company [in Fountain] uses it year-round now. Grand Rounds has done a wet hot brew with us the last two years. We’ve sold to Kinney Creek. And here at Little Thistle.
RM: You won the Kansas Fur Harvesters’ Annual Skillet Toss? You threw a skillet 55 feet?
AS: I really wondered what you were going to find in my past. Yes. I was Miss Rodeo Kansas. That’s why I went to this event. The first year, I didn’t even place. The next year, I made skillet-tossing kind of a fun hobby at home.
RM: You practiced throwing a skillet?
AS: Oh, I totally practiced. Yeah. Threw a weighted one. That way I got really good at it.
RM: Wow. Are you that competitive normally?
AS: I’m secretly competitive about everything.
RM: I bet you’re a nightmare to play board games with. You were Miss Rodeo Kansas 2015. And runner-up at Miss Rodeo America.
AS: I grew up riding horses. Yeah.
RM: You learned on an ornery pony.
AS: I did. A pony named Spunky. She taught all four of us kids how to ride. I just fell in love with riding horses. They’ve been a part of every phase of my life. So everything from jumping to dressage, and I rodeoed and competed in college. My first pageant was in college and, for me, I think every contestant has a bigger motive, a bigger reason, especially when it comes to being a rodeo queen. You’re representing the rodeo.
RM: For you, it seems like you’re representing a lifestyle as well.
AS: It meant representing the Western way of life, which stands for a value system, stands for your classic hard work, animal welfare. It stands for the way the West was broke and won. So it stands for that because more and more, I think, you need representatives of lifestyles that are being pushed out.
RM: You also like rock climbing and canyoneering?
AS: Big time. I learned rock climbing in Colorado when I was there for an internship. And then I studied abroad in Australia right after that, so I did quite a bit. For canyoneering, we did one trip in Australia where you descend into a hole on ropes and it took us like half a day to go through the side of the mountain.
RM: You say you and Jake are opposites in the business side—he focuses on the engineering side, you focus on the creative side. Is it a nightmare co-owning a business with your spouse?
AH: Not at all. I love it. He’s my best friend.
RM: Your best friend was a wrestler at Chatfield High School. What weight did he wrestle at in 2003?
AS: Hmmm. He graduated in ‘05. 103 pounds?
RM: Yes! 103!
AS: He was an extremely competitive wrestler We have to laugh, though, because I weighed 135 in seventh grade.
RM: When you were in seventh grade at St. Mary Catholic School in Newton, Kan.? When you ran the 75-meter dash in 10.7 seconds?
AS: How are you finding this? Yes. I did that. I had strong legs.
RM: Wrangler was a huge sponsor during Miss Rodeo Kansas, so were you required to wear Wranglers during your reign?
AS: Oh, yeah. And I still have all my Wranglers for my year, and I don’t think I’ll ever have to buy another pair, because those things last forever and I have like 25 pair.
RM: Which of these following things did you get or still have from your wedding registry?
AS: Wow. OK. Does Bed Bath & Beyond still have our registry up? This is freaky.
RM: The Noritake Crestwood Cobalt Platinum Fruit Bowl?
AS: Oh yeah, that’s my china set.
RM: The Wamsutta Serenity Full/Queen Coverlet in Mink?
AS: I had to return it for blue, but I do still have it and it’s very nice.
RM: Circle Monarch Decanter?
AS: Have you ever used a decanter? Do you drink wine?
RM: No. Mostly beer.
AS: If you ever drink wine, get a decanter. You pour it through there and let it sit and it totally brings out all the flavors. It was a life-changing experience to use that.
RM: Was it as life-changing as the Sunnylife Inflatable Flamingo Drink Holders?
AS: I actually did use those when we had a pool in Arizona. I just gave those to Goodwill recently.
RM: Seriously? I’m going to try and get those. For when I drink decantered wine in our bathtub.
AS: Or beer made from our hops!