Last year and this year we see the first tea buds open on March 15 – the Ides of March, beware!  This marks the beginning of a new tea year with the first flush.  As we did last year, we took down the wintertime scarecrow to mark the season.  The scarecrow, quite battered and faded, did a super job as we did not see a single crow out in the tea fields.  We ceremoniously carry him to the barn to be disassembled so maybe some parts can be used again next year.  In this photo I look like one of the Blues Brothers holding an upside down bible as in the Trump salute.  Farewell to this fall decoration and welcome a new, fruitful tea year.

Our tea tours have been going full steam ahead.  We are having one at 1:00 and one at 3:00 almost every day.  I rather not do a tour at 11:00 am as I have been doing as it messes up my morning routines with the animals.  Also, two a day is making me work a little more than I wish but it is working out good for now.  We also are still not having groups out to visit and turn them down several times a week.  We are not set up for those anymore.  I like two or three people so we can ride around the tea rows on the golf cart.  Remember, tours are $10 per person and we do not accept plastic.  We are way out in the country so you can not do our tours quickly and rush to something else.  We have very friendly dogs and peacocks but have unfriendly biting bugs in the summertime.  Our visitors arrive puzzled by what they are about to see and leave after an hour beaming in smiles and giving us words of praise for the experience.

Another tea pioneer has recently passed away.  Bob Sims became interested in tea many years ago and tried to start a tea farm in Texas which did not have good soil.  He then bought land in Andalusia, AL and planted a field there.  It was not very successful either.  He tried to organize tea growers which did not work out well.  He said that tea people were uncooperative and said “there are some mean people in tea.”  Even in his obit it said he found the world of tea to be “unfriendly.”  He was a super guy who came to visit me several times.  We discussed his approach to tea farming  constantly in email.  He really was a kind person.

They are having the World Tea Expo in Las Vagas this weekend.  I always thought I would go once I was retired from the Museum but my enthusiasm for going has faded.   You can see what all they have online and it would be interesting.  There you will find and ocean of tea cups, pots, kettles, pitchers, cozies, Zen lights and every blend of every tea product with every flavor imaginable.  They also conduct great classes.   I’m thinking most of this appeals to people trying to make money in tea’s flat market.   Tea people want to know what the other tea person is doing but that just doesn’t appeal to me.  I don’t have to compete with anyone and do tea because it is fun to do so.

Come visit us down on the tea farm and you will be delighted!

Donnie Barrett