I also contribute to a tea blog called 1000 Steepings where I post about tea events I am pouring at and tea events happening in Vancouver and nearby. The next event I am pouring at is a retreat where Lucas Schroeder and I are teaching Gong Fu Cha and Anusara Inspired Yoga. There is more info about it on the blog. I am also pouring tea at the 2013 Dragon Boat Festival on June 22-23 as part of a Global Tea & Local Food Room. Come by if you can, it will be held from 11am-6pm both days of the fest. More info on the fest here.
On June 2nd, 2012 Luke Moloney and Adrian Sinclair (me) were invited to perform Gong Fu Tea Service at the Coquitlam Inspiration Garden by an (equally) inspiring individual: Douglas Moore, TCM. We were asked to pour during the 4th part of his educational program about tea. We were lucky to experience tea’s healing properties both as a drink and a food that day.
The garden had a tea plant growing there as a potted plant which seems to the most common way people seem to grow tea in BC (so far!). The Coquitlam Inspiration Garden has big plans to expand their offerings – and might start to cultivate more Tea … I hope so!
Thanks Douglas for the amazing time we had pouring tea and eating green tea infused soups and foods. Here is a pic of some super stoked kids mulching the garden earlier in the spring!
In February of this year, Mado, Karlis, Brandy and I headed to visit Victor at the Teafarm in Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC. I posted about it previously and we were curious actually get out there to check out the situation there.
We piled into Mado’s compact sedan and drove the twisting roads near Duncan, BC through the valley. I noted the see all the mini-agricultural areas and ponds. It turns out there is a micro climate there that makes it highly suitable for tea. The farm itself is on a slope, which gives it good drainage (which, according to my studies: this is important for root development). As this farm is in its early years, there are not fields upon fields of Camila Sinensis - rather there was less than 100 plants in carefully placed rows. they have over-wintered for a few winters and are now headed into their next dark and rainy season as I type this.
A big part of the teafarm is the tea potery that Victor’s wife makes there on site in her studio. Part Tea Farm, part tea potery studio, it’s quite lovely I must say. We got there late, so we were a bit rushed for time, but even tho this was the case, we still got to try a few steepings of some tibetan oolong. I bought 100g of it for taking home. Mind you, this was not tea grown on the farm, but in Fujan China. As far as harvesting the tea at Teafarm.ca, it will be a few more years.
I look forward to it. Thanks Victor for the memorable afternoon.
A frequent question we get here at the Society is, “You can grow tea in BC!?” I of course answer, Yes! And I then elaborate that in-fact there is a history of tea growing in the Fraser Valley beginning in the 1950′s with St. Vincent’s. I first learned of Saint Vincent’s Tea Plantation when I was chatting with Bryan Mulvihill of the World Tea Party. Since I could find no mention of it on the internets Brian recommended I do further research at Special Collections at the Vancouver Public Library. I found less than I was hoping but was thrilled to find these fragments nonetheless. This and further research will be complied into a more formal archive of tea growing in BC as the project continues. Here is what we have so far.
Hi There, My Name is Adrian Sinclair and I love tea. I’ve been serving traditional chinese tea in the “gong fu cha” style for 7 years in Vancouver, BC Canada. This past year Karlis Kalnins and I founded the BC Tea Growers Society in order to promote the local cultivation of tea “camellia sinensis” for use in the Pacific North West.
We are a registered Non-Profit Society that is building logistical, social and online resources for the BC Tea Grower. We are planning our AGM Tea Grower Conference, continuing to build our tea cultivar library, compiling a history of Tea Growing In BC, creating a registry of tea growers in BC and performing outreach to those who are beginning their personal and/or commercial tea growing practices.
Below is one of the Tea Farms that have begun to pop up in BC, Canada.
Today VanDusen Botanical Gardens was kind enough to show us their Camellia collection which includes a c.sinensis specimen they have had in their collection since 1983. We have talked to gardeners who claim the winters here on the mainland around Vancouver are too severe for c.sinensis, but this plant shows that growing c.sinensis is definitely possible! The plant seems quite large and robust, but it is sheltered from wind and extreme climate by the other vegetation in that area of the garden, including trees and other camellias. I’d still want to keep new plants under cover for their first winter at least. We’re excited to see this plant again in bloom in the spring!