|Most of the time when you sit down with a cup of tea it’s likely from one of the
tea giants, China, India, Japan, or even Africa with their strong, robust black
teas. So you may be surprised to learn that tea is being produced right here in
the U.S.. There are two commercial tea producers-one in the East, the R.C.
Bigelow Co., in South Carolina, and in the West, Sakuma Brothers Premium
Teas, in Skagit Valley, Washington. There are also several smallholder farms in
Hawaii, producing smaller amounts of specialty teas.
| Richard and Steve Sakuma have been growing
tea for over ten years at their berry farm in
Skagit Valley, Washington. A former director of
diversified agriculture for the Lipton Tea Com-
pany, John Vandeland, encouraged the broth-
ers to add tea to their thriving berry farm.
Vandeland chose young tea plants he believed
would work for their unique terroir, with winter
lows dropping to 1 to 4 C, and slightly acidic,
sandy clay loam type of soil.The Sakumas planted five acres with a select-
ion of different varietals, with a third of the
plants unable to withstand the extremely cold
temperatures. In 2007 they harvested their
first tea crop from the plants that survived.
| In the beginning the brothers experimented with various machines
to harvest and produce their meager tea, from a gas fueled
hedge-trimmer for harvesting, to a meat grinder for rolling the leaf,
and using a regular wok for firing and drying. Unfortunately they
were so busy with their fruit production and harvesting, they had
little time left to concentrate on producing tea.They were aware, though, of the growing
interest in tea and its many
It was a serious blow and disheartening to Richard to go from the original 20,000 tea
The tea harvesting season in Washington state begins in June
China as a mao feng pluck, it consists
The Sakumas have been producing tea for about three years
green tea, an oolong, and a white tea
Their teas are available online, with 28g bags of Sakuma Market Stand Green or Oolong
All of their teas have five star testimonials, with their white tea described as bold, fruity,
|and creamy, their green tea described as complex and rich, a little spicy with perhaps a hint of cinnamon, with no
astringency or grassy taste. And the testimonials for their oolong tea is that it’s grown in our own backyard and the
finest quality, on par with Taiwan’s best oolong teas.So, I guess that about says it all. These are teas you’ll definitely want to try very soon.