Why Tea?

Words By Desiree Lyver
Photos By Karen McKinnon

Why not tea? Growing up on a farm on a Hornby Island farm with summers spent working on a commercial fish boat followed by serial years running through cut blocks, why a tea business became a common question.

After completing a Diploma in Environmental science, which was equal-parts disturbing as inspiring, completely changed to way I viewed products throughout our grocery stores. This is what planted the seed and moved me to get involved with supporting; sustainable family farms locally and globally.

It is all about creating a product that is equally as good for our health as it is for the environment. Products that allow the hard working farmers, local businesses and economies to thrive. The exceptional quality, taste, aroma and health benefits and experience are what stand out from basing a business on these principles.

Hornby Island tea blends island grown lavender, calendula, and mints with green and black teas from The Small Tea CO-OP family run farms in Assam Indian. Wildly harvested nettles with rich iron red rooibos from the mountains of Cedarburg South Africa; Which Hornby Island Tea had the opportunity to visit early this spring.

At the base of a three peak South African mountain lies the Family Farm of the top quality Organic Rooibos. The mountains in South Africa appear nearly bare, but once up close the vegetation known as fambous, is species dense. The soils are red with minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. One reason why rooibos is so beneficial to your health, Very rich in essential minerals.

The dirt roads follow the valleys through the Cedarburg Mountains, through vinegars, citrus, olives, circular crops and sheep farms. The houses are spread very far apart with expansive fields between. The air is dry and hot–a perfect climate for sun curing rooibos. After a longer than expected morning drive through quaint towns we rolled into a very small town with no signs. Just a railway stop that reassured us we were getting close. The final stretch was half navigated by the three-peak mountain, which the farm skirts. We arrived an hour or so late, but the greeting was one of “So very glad you found us.”

Our stories were exchanged over a cup of fresh rooibos and fresh farm milk. After learning that not many years ago the price of organic rooibos was too low to pay for the processing, the family had to diversify from growing rooibos. However, the current market for organic family farmed rooibos is high. This has the price at a level that has the family is working hard to plant new fields to keep up with a now thriving business.

It’s these interactions and stories that answer the question of why a tea business: we’re a small business with huge intentions to grow sustainable family farmed businesses, both locally and globally. While offering the tea drinker a new aged tea experience, which is moving us in the direction of healthy family farms, a healthy environment and personal health.




Category: Volume 4