Tea in Strange Places – The Latest

My most recent article about tea in strange places was concerned with a few of the more offbeat places you can go to drink tea. Prior to that I wrote several installments that focused on growing tea in places that are not normally considered hotbeds of tea production. See the latest of those articles here.

A very neat Japanese tea garden. (stock image)
A very neat Japanese tea garden. (stock image)

But wait (as the old ad slogan goes), there’s more. To start off with, there’s Japan. Which is actually something of a hotbed of tea production. But the tea that’s been grown there over the course of the years has been almost exclusively of the green type, with a few rare exceptions. Which seems to be changing, if we’re to believe this recent article in the Japan Times. As the article notes, farmers there “are starting to produce black tea as demand [for green tea] dwindles and prices fall amid changing consumption habits, especially for high-grade varieties.”

As noted in past installments there are a number of tea-growing ventures currently underway in the United States. The most notable of these is a long-standing operation in South Carolina and some newer efforts in Hawaii. There are also some less sizable projects underway in a few other states. To which list we’ll soon be adding the name of Mississippi, if a local farmer there has his way.

Jason McDonald, owner of FiLoLi Farms in Brookhaven, has stated that he intends to plant about ten acres of tea plants on the farm. Unlike many growers he plans to grow, process and sell the tea all from this base of operations. But don’t place any orders just yet. The crop is not due to be planted until 2014 and it may be as much as five more years after that until things really get rolling.

While we’re speaking of tea farms in parts of the Americas not typically known for growing tea, let’s give a mention to Teafarm, located in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They began planting tea there in May, 2010 and the 200 plants they have in the ground thus far are still holding their own. More about their venture in this article from the local press.

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