Drying calendula from Savoie Farm. Image by Sydney Vandermale
All our teas are blended with locally grown herbs, which adds to the taste, smell and visual profile. We have partnered with a few local farms as well as made relationships with family run farms in India and South Africa.
Nancy and Stephan's Farm on Central Road, Hornby Island.
Nancy Lyver and Stephan Hurrell, Hornby Island
Hornby Island Tea harvests herbs from its own family farm of over 40 years. Nancy and Stephan first started farming with the desire to grow enough potatoes for their fish and chips shop. Over the years, through many different business models, they now focus on growing beautiful flowers which they sells at their popular roadside stand. On our farm we grow calendula, mint, lemon balm, and lavender.
This is Nancy, she runs the flower farm on Hornby Island and works hard on maintaining and picking the calendula for Hornby Island tea.
Savoie Farm, Hornby Island
We have partnered with Mary Savoie and Jack Carriers for 7 years. Mary also grows lavender, and calendula for our tea, and is working on a mint patch that doesn't take over the entire garden! Mary sells flowers at Nancy's stand, while Jack grows vegetables which they sell at the local Fruit Stand Market as well as manages grass fed cattle on their farm.
Drying lavender from Savoie Farm. Image by Sydney Vandermale
Exceptional quality ingredients is at the very root of our mission. From the beginning we partnered with Kel Kelly and Peggy Carswell to purchase black and green tea from small, family run farms in Assam India. We have also have the pleasure to purchase tea from a small family run Rooibos farm in South Africa.
Drying Rooibos from the South African farm. After growing for 5 to 6 years tea is then harvested, cut into small pieces, fermented, laid out to dry in natural sunlight, processed, and then packed. Image courtesy of owner Frans.
Rooibos Farm, South Africa
This Rooibos farm is a family run business, which has been in the family for decades. During my visit in 2015 they shared their story of farming and how they got to where they are now. Owner Frans, started his tea growing business in 1996 becoming the first privately owned Rooibos producer, and in 1997, was awarded for being the first ever certified organic Rooibos producer. He recruited his daughter, whom was practicing law at the time, to get on board and work on the administrative side of things, and his wife to package up shipments. Frans also works for the South African government to find a solution for soil erosion, all the while working in the fields growing the Rooibos. It is refreshing to see hard working farmers becoming successful entrepreneurs and we are glad to have had a small part in their success.
Harvesting Rooibos from the Rooibos tea farm. Image courtesy owner Frans.
Green and Black tea Farms, India
Green tea leaves being prepared for hand rolling. Photo by Kel Kelly.
When Hornby Island Tea partnered up with black tea grower, Gobin and green tea grower Dhiren our dreams took flight. Kell Kelly and Peggy Carswell have been active in developing a tea farming coop in the community of Assam, India for over 20 years. The coop currently supports half a dozen family farms, two of which Hornby Island Tea buys from directly. The coop have created a market for their products, jumped through countless exporting hoops, and formed family friendships, all while building an eco-conscious business.
Green tea grower Dhiren with his green tea leaves, showing us how his workers only pick two leaves and a bud so that the plant can grow back sustainably.