Christine Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery, Chapel Hill, NC
"Did you know you can grow and make your own tea from Camellia Sinensis in Western North Carolina...?" This morning I learned that yes, indeed, you can.
Bright and early at Asheville's downtown Dobra Tea I had the pleasure of listening to a talk entitled "Growing Your Own Tea" given by Christine Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery and Tea Gardens (Chapel Hill, NC). This talk was one in a series of tea classes sponsored and hosted by Asheville's Dobra Tea.
Christine covered all the basics of growing tea from evaluation and preparation of your site to growth and pruning of the plants. She then talked a bit about processing your home grown tea leaves. Dobra's sitting room was packed full for this talk, but don't worry if you were not one of the lucky Asheville-ites to have been there. This information will soon be available to all. Christine has a forthcoming book entitled Grow Your Own Tea: The Complete Guide to Cultivating, Harvesting, and Preparing being published by Timber Press. The book will be available in June of this year (and is already available for pre-order on Amazon). I know that I, for one, will be snapping up a copy as soon as I can.
As we listened to Christine's talk and responses to our questions, we sampled a roster of six delicious teas. The first of these teas was the "Camellia Forest White" prepared with leaves grown and processed at Christine's Camellia Forest Nursery. The remaining five of the teas served were some of those available on Dobra's extensive menu of teas. All of the teas were prepared and served by Miles Cramer, Dobra's in-house tea educator and organizer of the "Tea Class Series."
Christine Parks and Miles Cramer
I feel fortunate to have Dobra Tea and its "Tea Class Series" available to me right here in Asheville, North Carolina. But those of you in other areas can also learn about growing tea from Christine as well as enjoying the large selection of teas sourced by Dobra. Christine includes basic growing information on her nursery website as well as on her tea garden website. And Dobra ships fresh, loose leaf tea to anywhere in the United States. So enjoy! Tea plants and tea tasting are just a keystroke away.