Ever since opening our shop seven years ago, we always hoped that one day, we would be able to offer a special tea that was grown and locally crafted in BC. For us, tea is the product of a unique plant grown in a distinguished terroir, made with the kind of care and love that allows the plant’s innate qualities to emerge. We see this kind of tea culture as an expression of the land, the earth, the climate and the unique individual, their passion and vision.
In the past year, we’ve been fortunate to know Yoshi of Cedar Isle Farm. We met Yoshi at a farmer’s market a few years ago and we were intrigued by him and his farming methods at Cedar Isle Farm. As we learned about his organic farming practise, growing grains like oats and rye, we were inspired by Yoshi—he was passionate about local, organic farming, he cared deeply about the land, the people, the environment, and he was a pioneer in many ways – unconventional and always willing to try something new.
Over the years, we have gotten to know him and his beautiful, organic, Cedar Isle Farm. The family-owned farm, located on Seabird Island in Agassiz, is situated at the foothills of the majestic snow capped Mount Cheam, surrounded by apple and pear trees; open, vibrant, and pristine.
Yoshi’s chrysanthemum tea plants—Garland Chrysanthemum—are called Shungiku 春菊 in Japanese, Tung Ho 茼蒿 in Chinese. They are native to the Mediterranean, and found their way to China during the Song Dynasty some 900 years ago. Yoshi planted the seeds at Cedar Isle Farms in April. Tiny buds started sprouting in late June and the first golden flowers were carefully harvested by Yoshi on July 3. Both the unopened buds and the flowers are harvested, with only three harvests before the season ended. We harvested around 6 kg of fresh flowers of this year’s harvest, which became a mere 900 grams after processing!
The processing of the flowers is done in a way that involves minimal intervention, preserving the flowers in as natural a state as possible.
The resulting tea is extremely soothing, gentle and delicious, like drinking sunshine in a cup. It is smooth and sweet with notes of mandarin and yuzu.