Yesterday we had 173 hits on this web site. That is amazing because I don’t even know 172 people but I am glad they are finding the Fairhope Tea Plantation interesting. Also, everyday I get phone calls, emails and text from all over the USA, and a bit from around the world. They are very complementary of what we are doing here and ask many questions.
Lots of questions about what type farm equipment do we use. The only machinery we use is a tea rolling machine. I only got this last year and it helps greatly with rolling tea. It had gotten so I would only barely roll the tea with my arthritic hands. This machine concentrates the tea, makes it stronger and makes the small stems go away and the wet, green mass dries much quicker. I love this machine! We do all the picking by hand and a tea picking machine will not likely ever show up here. We toast black and Oolong in a old, beat up outside oven.
Yes, I actually wear that Chinese hat when picking tea. It is so lite it just goes away and you forget its on your head. I also like it because most of the time is also shades your arms. Its not good in the wind unless you wear the chin strap which I really don’t like.
By “dry pen” I mean the area we construct to dry tea on old bed sheets. We drive stakes in the ground and staple plastic sheeting around leaving a small gate. We shape it for how much tea we are drying and direct it to where the sun is during that time. This keeps trash from blowing over on the tea, keeps wind from blowing tea away, and when it is still, it becomes an intense drying area. I use a child’s rake on a stick to move the tea around on the sheets. When a storm comes up, I have to rebuild it. Once I had a way to get the tea up off the ground while drying. It made the buds turn a darker brown, almost black. I liked that but it was hard to maintain.
Yes, I will start the tours again pretty soon. I can do them w/o any contact if I put tea to sell and cash change in a fixed area and use plastic cups…I hate to serve good tea in plastic cups.
Come visit sometime.