February 15, 2009

Tea: Made in the USA

There is only one place in the United States that grows its own camellia sinensis plants - and that is the Charleston Tea Plantation which is owned by the good folks at Bigelow Tea. Now they don't get all their tea from the one plantation here, but they do harvest and sell some of their "local blends" like Plantation Peach and Charleston Breakfast teas.

It is much more expensive to produce tea in the US, much of that of course is the difference in labor costs. So while you can buy 6 boxes (with 20 bags each) or Bigelow Earl Grey for only $17.75, it's going to cost you $35.70 for 6 boxes (with only 12 bags each!) for the US Plantation-grown Governor's Gray - and good luck finding the US-grown boxes in your local grocery store (perhaps available down there in South Carolina, but I wouldn't know. Someone can let me know).

Now as an interesting side note and Mad Tea tid-bit...It has recently come to my attention that this very same Charleston Tea Plantation will be providing the sweet tea that will be the eponymous flavoring in the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, which is currently ranked as the #1 seller of flavored vodka in the state (South Carolina) and will should be available in all 50 states come March 2009.

And so with this news of American Tea, I was extremely excited to learn that the Charleston Tea Plantation will be hosting the First Flush Festival -- celebrating the commencement of the 2009 tea crop -- an event that is coming soon & one that I would love to attend. This is a relatively new tradition (this is the 3rd Annual Festival) and as a tea lover I am extremely interested in experiencing tea as an American commodity.

Mark your calendars! May 16th

So who wants to go with Madam Potts to South Carolina?


Bill said...

Here is a nationwide store locator. Charleston Tea is available in 17 states it seems. In Charleston, I would recommend getting in from the Vegetable Bin.


Madam Potts said...

Thank you Bill for the information! Will you be going to the 4th Annual First Flush Festival in Charleston, SC this year?