Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome to Oregon: Wine, Truffles...and Tea? - By Katie Lewis

Excerpt from Take Root magazine (Winter 2013). Read the full version here:

Just north of the Salem tea plot, the red clay hills of Dundee produce elegant, earthy Pinot noirs. Could tea prove to be another latent agricultural phenomenon in Oregon like wine or, more recently, truffles? Similar to wine, tea reflects its terrior, is somewhat temperamental, and requires intensive processing prior to consumption. It’s no easy task and the economic viability of tea has yet to be proven in Oregon. The majority of the world’s tea grows in China, Taiwan, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka, where it’s supported by thousands of years of culture and knowledge on tea cultivation, processing, and consumption. While it’s certainly possible to cultivate tea in the Northwest, as evidenced by the efforts of Minto Island and Sakuma Brothers, the region lacks tea harvesting and processing equipment and knowledge. At present, this appears to be the major challenge for the endeavor.

Rob Miller holds some fresh picked leaves on his experimental tea plot

Curing the leaves at J-TEA

The finished product...

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