Hawaiian Grown Tea

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Doesn’t look like much now but one day this will be part of a beautiful working tea farm…Hawaiian Style!  Ulupalakua Ranch on the leeward side of Haleakala is planting tea at 4700′ above sea level.  What makes this project unique is that rows of tea is being planted between rows of native koa trees.  The koa will grow tall over time while the tea will be manicured to be an understory crop.  Leaves from the koa trees help with nitrogen fixation to maintain soil fertility for years to come.

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Diversified Agriculture in Hawai’i

Cacao and new tea farmer Melanie Boudar of Sweet Paradise Chocolates on Maui

Cacao and new tea farmer Melanie Boudar of Sweet Paradise Chocolates

There are many diversified ag farmers around the state growing all sorts of crops from staples to exotics.  Diversified ag plays an important role in our economy.  The collective effort of these growers increase our state’s nutrition pool, food security and value-added crop production.  I always learn something and leave humble after visiting a farm like this one on Maui.  And tea is right there in the mix!

Tap Root

Tap Root

This keiki tea plant has a great chance to grow and thrive because of the healthy tap root that has formed. These plants will be tranferred to pots and sit in a shade house until ready to transfer to the field.

From Farm to Cup

From Farm to Cup

These 20,000 keiki tea plants are heading to farms around the state. Sponsored by the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture, this two year project sets out to start 20 new tea farms and double the number of acres in cultivation.  Big Island Tea oversees the project’s propagation.  Big Island Tea has been growing and making tea in Hawai’i for over ten years.  They were selected for the project because of their passion and expertise but also because they produce outstanding, world class tea.

Follow us on this journey, from farm to cup, for more ono-licious Hawaiian grown tea.