I know this doesn't look like much, but those little reddish-purple things are Cascade hop sprouts. In another month these will be growing an inch a day or more, doubling every two weeks until winter comes or the earth is subsumed by *this* hop plant. Whichever comes first.
Shane made a couple beers with the hops from last year's harvest, and the results were less than impressive. Not bad, just not that hoppy. I put them in my Stout Coffee, but at a rate of 4:1, i.e. I put in 4 oz of backyard hops where I would have added one ounce of commercial pellet hops. The wort tasted just right, so I am hopeful. I am also hopeful that this years harvest will be stronger, as the plant puts down more roots and is healthier overall. This will be the third year, and that's when "they" say to expect to start actually getting hops.
Also a shout out to the guy at growinghopsyourself.com, he's got a nice little blog about the trials and tribulations of growing hops in Minnesota. Lots of helpful hints that come from real experience. A recent post of his sparked me to go take a look at my plants and take this pic.