Tuesday, January 6, 2009

American Tea Production

Did you know that there is tea growing in America? If you read my blog often, you may remember that I'm growing some in my apartment, but I'm talking much larger scale here! Perhaps you've heard of Charleston Tea Plantation, or heard mention of tea in Hawaii, Washington or Oregon. But I bet you didn't know there's a tea plantation in Alabama! Or that tea can grow in lots of places. You can grow tea in most of the Southeast up to southern NC (including Athens, GA) and on North America's West Coast from Vancouver Island, British Columbia down to Mexico. I recently had the pleasure of covering the growing phenomenon of American-grown tea for World Tea News. Excerpt:

The way William Hall, partner in South Carolina’s Charleston Tea Plantation, tells it, tea plants were grown in South Carolina for decorative purposes as early as 1799. (After all, the sinensis or “Chinese” in Latin, variety is just one of many camellia plants.) A compelling course of events, involving commercial failures, and abandoned fields and research stations, eventually led to Charleston Tea Plantation, self-dubbed “America’s only tea garden.”

However, South Carolina isn’t the only state growing tea. Agricultural consultant John Vendeland said you could “very successfully” grow tea in most of the Southeast and West Coast, just like other camellias. We interviewed growers in Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Alabama and found that many had origins not unlike Hall’s.

You can read more on tea production in America on World Tea News.


Steph said...

I was not aware of the expansion of tea growing in the US. Very cool!

VeeTea said...

Yeah, I had no idea about the Alabama plantation until I was halfway through the article! It is, as one of my sources said, "A homegrown secret."