Welcome to San Juan Island Tea!
Welcome to our new online tea store, our gang of 7 and our 'can't be done', impossible crazy idea.
San Juan Island Tea offers a wide selection of always organic, high quality black, green, flavored and blended loose leaf teas sourced from the world's top organic tea farms. That's not the crazy as a loon part, the grand experiment that only slightly whacked serial entrepreneurs would attempt is the creation of the only operating tea farm in the state of Washington on the iconic island of San Juan in the San Juan Island archipelago.
Our 11 acre farm incorporates a varied landscape that includes native forests of Doug Firs, Gary Oaks, Madrona trees, rolling slopes of grass fields, and a rocky knoll all situated in such a way that creates its own natural amphitheater.
We are committed to organic and permaculture farming and are implementing sustainable farming techniques like no till, the introduction of bio-diverse plant species and mulch recycled from our own plant and tree cuttings and pruning. Our farm will include a bamboo forest, tea planted in traditional farm style rows along with tea planted in rockeries-tea garden style. Although tea has been grown for thousands of years and is all made from the same plant, camellia sinensis, our tea will be like no other in the world due to our unique terroir.
Work on the farm is well underway and began with the excavation of a now retired horse arena that will be the 'bed' of our bamboo garden and the entrance to the tea farm. We've planted the first group of trees for shade with more to come along with a variety of plants needed to provide a bio diverse environment for our 800 tea plants. There is plenty of work to do to get ready for our crop that we estimate will take 2-3 years to reach its first flush.
In the meantime we are excited to offer a wide selection of organic teas sourced from around the world. We feel incredibly lucky to call the San Juan Islands our home and are passionate about sustaining this beautiful environment. Many things make these islands special and the Orca Whales are arguably at the top of that list.
A key initiative to our business plan is our contribution to help protect and sustain these amazing animals and the eco-system around them, San Juan Island Tea donates 5% of its profits to Orca Conservancy, orcaconservancy.org.Orca Conservancy is an all volunteer Washington State non-profit organization working on behalf of Orcinus orca, the killer whale, and protecting the wild places on which it depends.
An undertaking of this magnitude cannot be accomplished alone, and alone we are not. The project architects and laborers are my husband and me, but our gang of 7 includes very important family members with key and unique contributions to the farm.
Meet the rest of the family:
Dawson/Raleigh: Dawson, our 3 year old female, West Highland Terrier and Raleigh, our 3 year old male Scottish Terrier. Dawson and Raleigh's chief responsibility is to rid the property of anything that moves that could otherwise pose a serious danger to our tea plants; this includes deer, fox, cars, our horse that they have seen in the same field for the 3 years they have been alive and our sneaky cows that miraculously appear every morning out to thin air to torment them. They are excellent at their jobs and cannot be replaced.
If you're thinking that it's interesting that both dogs are the same age, yes, it's interesting and deserves an entire blog on what a brilliant idea that was.
Money: Money is our 31 year old quarter horse, yes, I said 31! He recently lost his pasturemate but is slowly warming up to his new over-the-fence neighbors, the cows. Money supplies the farm with between 10-13 glorious piles of 'black gold' each day. He is also excellent at his job.
Matcha/Oolong: Matcha and Oolong are our Scottish Highland cows. They are yearlings and have only been on the farm for 4 months but they already take their responsibilities very seriously...more black gold. Scottish Highland cows are a heritage breed, the oldest breed of cow in existence. Money, Matcha and Oolong afford the farm a continuous supply of beautiful, nutrient rich fertilizer. As a side note, in exchange for their daily service, we have promised to provide Matcha and Oolong a comfortable home on the farm for the rest of their lives and not eat them.
Paulo: Paulo, our adopted cat, contributes nothing to the farm effort yet assumes all the credit.
We hope to offer our first limited quantity Estate teas in 2021. I'll continue to share updates as the farm develops, so I hope you check back often.