The first flush has arrived, and we have started plucking.  We are picking the baby buds now and are making our first yellow tea.  Yellow tea is a green tea that you produce without heat sources or sun.  You have to make it in small batches because the time it takes to get up a batch is long and spreading it out takes space.  It is our favorite tea.  I do not pack and sell it but serve it to visiting tea professionals and share it with my family.

We will next start making our greet teas.  There has been a good discussion on the internet on green tea.  The final take away appears that US tea producers do not even agree on what green tea is.  It appears that some growers do not like green tea, so they let it black a bit to take away the fresh leaf flavor.  One called it “grassy” which means they need to be making breakfast tea instead.  One even said that customers really don’t like green tea better than black, they just think it is better for them health wise.  The narrative brought in some rather unusual opinions that often to me did not even make sense.  My wife and I certainly like green tea better.

I had a visit this morning from the man who was in charge of the tea experiment demonstration that Lipton Company planted in Fairhope in 1976.  He had lots to say about it.  He also helped bulldoze the bushes into piles and burn them.  He was quite pleased to see that I rescued three plants and turned them into a working farm.

I had another visitor last week that made me rather uncomfortable. When I served this gentleman, wife and teenage daughter a cup of tea I did not pour me a cup as I usually am talking lots while they are sipping the brew.  He didn’t drink his and stared at me through his Proud Boy spiderman sunglasses.  He jumps up, points at me “I’m taking you out if you are trying to poison my family!!”

I also had someone sling an unprovoked insult my way a couple weeks ago.  He called me “wild and untamed.”   Some folks would consider that a fun compliment, but I consider myself to be more of a highly educated Edwardian.   It reminded me of a French television program that taped a segment here a few years ago for a food program.  The Julia Child like host spoke all in French but referred to me as “The Dukes of Hazzard.”  Also, an Indian gentleman came here not long ago and would not drink my tea, would not pay me for the tour and sneered at me the whole time because I could not possibly know anything about tea. “You put instant tea in your leaves so it will taste like tea?”  When you put yourself out there you can expect some unpleasant brushes with the public.

I am still getting request for small tea plants.  We have sold over 5000 this year but it is getting too late in the year to move them.  Wait until the fall as the survival rate is better then.  If you want to try, I will give them to you but going into winter is a better time of year.

Remember we do not take plastic and bring another $10 so you can but a fresh bag of our tea.  Call for an appointment and come see us!

Donnie Barrett