STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 3, Number 2

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Page 65 of 83

66 STiR tea & coffee industry international merica is buzzing with tea activity! Not only are new growers planting thou- sands of seedling tea bushes in some quite unlikely locations, often in difficult weather conditions, but there is also a supportive network of activity aimed at raising nationwide awareness. The 'Tea Across America' project, devised by Jason McDonald of Filoli Farm in Mississippi and Elyse Peterson of Tealet in Las Vegas is finding volunteer hosts in each state to raise and care for at least one tea plant. The philosophy behind the campaign is to provoke discussion, to share ideas and generally to get people thinking and talking about tea in a new way. Meanwhile, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dr. Susan Walcott is creating a 'tea terroir map' to show where tea is being grown in the U.S. and to compile information about where plants thrive best in what climatic conditions and at what altitudes, etc. And the recently created U.S. League of Tea Growers (USLTG), the brainchild of Jason McDonald and international tea industry technical consultant Nigel Melican, is working to coordinate and support the work of all the new growers and established tea farmers and gardeners. The League had its inaugural meeting at World Tea Expo in June 2013 and its sec- ond in Atlanta at World Tea East in October 2013. The group will next meet at World Tea Expo in Long Beach in May/June 2014. As Melican explained, one of the aims of the League is to help new tea growers to "collaborate, cooperate, and to share informa- tion and solve problems together. Only by linking the disparate growers from Hawaii to Mississippi, from Oregon to Florida, can we achieve the critical mass to forge the new methods upon which real commercial success will depend." It is hoped that universities, public bodies, and private companies will also become involved to help find solutions to some of the challenges that will inevitably arise as the American tea industry develops. "We must ensure that we have a ready market when we come out of the gate with our product. We also need to make sure our quality is on point when we do so. We must also encourage others to grow tea. In short, we have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time with a handicap of not knowing what will work and what won't in growing tea American Tea In the second of her articles on tea growing in the U.S., Jane Pettigrew discusses developments in some of America's eastern states and Hawaii, and explores some of the challenges facing new tea farmers. Liam Ball's Na Liko tea garden on the island of Maui, Hawaii. John Cross's tea garden in Hakalau, Hawaii island, the oldest tea garden in Hawaii. By Jane Pettigrew A

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