Updates from the farm
The skies over our valley are shrouded in a chilly, dense winter fog most mornings. Not only are we feeling the cold but the seedlings in the nursery as well. The cold weather leads to slower growth so our estimated planting out of the new seedlings may even take place later than the anticipated mid-June. The hard, protective shell surrounding each seed go through a rubbing process called scarification to enhance germination and, depending on how well this process is carried out, germination can also be affected but fortunately we are now able to do the scarification ourselves which ensures less risk in the end result.
All the new tea fields that will be planted next year (they have to lie fallow for three years to rest the soil) have been sown with oats to restore the topsoil biomass, and when cut, these cuttings, which are left on the fields, will also act as protection against the harsh September winds. Fields that are being planted this year are also being prepared now for the planting of the new seedlings.
Older fields are being kept clean of invader plants and weeds. We have had very little rain since the harvest season which often causes some of the older plants to die so rain is always foremost in our minds at this time.
Tea making season
At the factory the tea making and drying season are now finished for the year. The balance of the year will be spent refining, sorting and sterilizing the tea for different orders and blends and so the cycle continues until next year, following the same pattern over and over to get the tea from our crop to your cup.
While we are are talking about tea making: this quote from Emilie Barnes underpins the existence of each cup of rooibos tea so beautifully, “The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation, the little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself – warm and comforting – inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences.”