Monday, August 8, 2011

America's Tea Plantation

When we were in Charleston at the end of May we visited America's ONLY tea plantation. I had no idea that there was only ONE. It seems most of the tea we drink is grown in other countries and marketed by name brand companies. Bigelow partners with Charleston Tea. This is the founder of the one in Charleston, SC




I have to say it was very interesting and educational. I had no idea that the plants look like shrubbery. There were rows and rows of them.






We were told that other countries grow their tea on hillsides for better drainage.
Charleston is flat and they had to make their own drainage system to protect the plants.

This is the machine that cuts the tea leaves. It's the only one of it's kind in the world. The other countries cannot use it on the hillside slopes. It is very tall and is actually riding above the shrubs of tea leaves. It takes only a couple of inches off and they repeat the process every 3 weeks. This way they are always getting new and fresh growth.


We just happened to be there on a cutting day. Lucky for us!


This shows the height of the machine. It rides between the narrow rows of shrubs.


See the leaves in the basket on the back of the machine.



We toured the processing plant next.








There are quite a few steps before we get the final product.









They had many different flavors and we were able to sample some of them, and of course I had to bring some home.



On many of the plantations in Charleston there is water and where there is water there is alligators.




Hope you enjoyed the little tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation and that you have a wonderful week!

8 comments:

The Decorative Dreamer said...

I did! I've wanted to go here many times but have often chosen something else to see instead, due to limited time restraints. There is always so much to see in Charleston! I have enjoyed this tea for years now when I drink hot tea. I am all about buying and trying our SC products. Thanks so much for the tour!

Sweet Meanderings said...

What a wonderful tour! I would have gone crazy in the gift shop. I really didn't realize that tea was grown anywhere in the U.S. I'll definitely have to "buy American" now!
Candy

Happy@Home said...

Thanks for a very interesting and informative post. I guess I haven't thought much about where tea is grown. I have been to Charleston once, but didn't know about this tea plantation.
I just read your previous post. Don't know how I missed it, but belated anniversary wishes to you and your hubby.

sharon said...

Very interesting. I never knew there was any tea more in the US! Will have to keep that in mind when buying tea!! Love to buy american when possible!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

And mighty good tea they make too!! That just looks so interesting, knowing my love of tea!!

Debbie Kay said...

Thank you for that delightful tour.....who knew??

Smiles,

Debbie

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Very interesting. I've never been there, but have wanted to. Maybe next time! Of course now I can't drink tea :-( Did you read my post last week about not drinking tea?

I have bought their tea (in Charleston) and it was good, but not decaffeinated. They used to sell it at Walmart too! (Before the new owners took over.)

Thanks for sharing the pictures! Now I really want to go!

Katherine

Prissy Missy said...

Love the post about the Charleston Tea Plantation! I drink Hot Tea every day even in the summer. Will look to "buy American" now, too.
I am new to the blog world, so glad I stumbled across yours!