We are having some really busy days on the tea farm.  Even though it is getting hot and we have already had a near-hurricane, we are picking, processing and making batches of green, black or both teas every day.  The tea rows are at staggered heights and by the time you make your rounds, its is time to start over.  Our tea is being picked at a younger age this year and the tea rolling machine is logging miles as we are using it every day.   I would say we are in a time of high production.  We likely have reached 100 pounds by now, I just have not done the math.

My tea tours now cost visitors $10 each.  I thought this may hurt business but it has not.  We are seeing guest almost every day now at the tea farm.  Also sales of our bags of loose leaf tea are going quite well.  We are selling the 6oz bags for $15 and we make up larger bags as requested.  I have sold several pounds lately for an even $50.  This price is very inexpensive I know, but our overhead is low.

There are times that I wish I could share the pleasant views I see out in the fields while plucking leaf.  Our bushes are 20-25 years old and resemble old weathered bonsai trees.  The fat, thick, juicey new growth on these, out in the pure sunshine is a vision of beauty tea appreciateors  rarely see or more likely would never see.   Each is like a carefully arranged sun-kissed flower arrangement.  I admire their beauty, then tear them to pieces with my bare hands!  The tea bushes understand.

I am still asked a couple times a week for me to mail a package of tea to someone, somewhere.  I still have not given in to that as I enjoy seeing my tea locally sold to folks who visit the tea farm and the few vendors I am supplying.   I think I am going to approach 300 pounds this year and if I am sitting on a pile of five gallon mylar bags at the end of the year, I shall reconsider.

One more thing I would like to include is I have noticed a prejudice against American tea vs. China, Kenyan or Sri Lankan teas.  I am hearing this from tourist who don’t know they are even saying it and from tea officiates who want to sound “sophisticated.”  I certainly have learned that people taste what they are expecting to taste. People only assume the foreign teas MUST be better because they have such a long history of production.  It is similar to California wines were not even considered as real wine for their first 50 years.

Come see us on the tea farm.  We are having a great time down here in Sweet Home Alabama!

Donnie Barrett