Island Grown Farm Tour 2019!
Last weekend we participated in the 'Island Grown Farm Tour' on San Juan Island. The farm tours are an annual event held on three of the islands in the San Juan's; San Juan Island, Orcas Island and Lopez Island on consecutive weekends.
We were a little hesitant about participating at first because we are in the process of building our tea farm and Japanese garden and were concerned it was not far enough along, but in the end decided that people might like to see a tea farm being built in its early stages, which proved to be exactly right!
Greg worked very hard leading up to the tour weeding the garden, building sand paths, putting up signs and putting finishing touches on garden features such as the 'River Nell' dry river bed.
We were desperate to have tea planted in the ground and unfortunately, we were expecting 200 new tea plants scheduled to arrive the following week. We would have loved to have them in the ground for the tour, but scheduling doesn't always cooperate with our plans. So, instead, we planted one small row of tea with plants; Sochi, Super Sochi and a few smaller plants from Hawaii. Then, as the farm and garden are not yet fenced, we had to erect a temporary fence around our 'nursery' of sorts, the row of tea plants and the majority of what we are calling 'Zone 2'.
Greg narrated the garden and farm tour and then directed the visitors up to our house where we had our outdoor table under the arbor set up for tea tastings, a display on the deck with packaged tea for sale and a table where we served free tea and cookies.
Saturday was a lovely sunny fall day and we had steady traffic all day, 10am-3pm. I did three tea tastings, sampling a beautiful, floral Darjeeling from Risheehat Estate in India and a wonderful Oolong, Oolong Qilan, from Fujian Province, China. It was great fun and I hope an informative experience for all.
Sunday the weather did not cooperate, it was cloudy with intermittent rain and cooler temperatures all day. We thought it would deter the visitors, but happily, it did not! We had about the same amount of traffic as the day before.
Many people on the tour said they were looking forward to coming next year to see how the farm develops and grows; we are too! All in all, it was great fun, we made many acquaintances with on and off islanders that we hope will develop into friendships.