Friday, August 9, 2013

Leelanau Peninsula: Light of Day Organic Tea Farm

When I heard that Leelanau County had an organic tea farm (the only one in Michigan), I knew right away that I wanted to visit.  Light of Day Organic Teas is just 8 miles West of Traverse City and is an easy drive from the cottage.  

Dan and I drove over on a steamy ninety-degree afternoon and ran into the owner, Angela Macke tending (and watering!) the plants, flowers and herbs that she grows for her organic teas.  On this large and breezy farm, there is a gazebo, yurt, hoop house (that's where the tea grows) and many many garden beds full of flowers.
Angela, a self-proclaimed tea-evangelist, told us about the tea bar inside the retail store and encouraged us to stay for a tea tasting ($6), if we had the time. A tea tasting was exactly what I was hoping for. At the time, four customers were in the middle of a tasting, so we had a few minutes to wander around before our tea tasting would begin.  

Angela invited us to explore her biodynamic farm and told us that we were welcome to relax and lay down on a bench in the yurt. The yurt is where Angela holds her tea classes and seems to be the spiritual center of the farm.
Now, I have never been offered a chance to lay down in a yurt, so I took her up on it.  Angela said that it is a quiet restorative space and that every once in a while she loves to take a moment to lay down and reflect.  I can attest that it is a great space.
Our guide for the tea tasting was Rosemarie - she is a treasure! She has an incredible working knowledge of the Light of Day teas and their biodynamic farming practices.  The tasting included an explanation of tea leaves, preparation, tea and wellness, along with a sampling of hot and cold teas.  

When I returned with a friend this week, I was a bit disappointed to learn that the tasting format had changed to a less formal instruction.  I can understand that the change was necessary.  At the height of the season, it would be very hard to give a 2-4-person instruction and tasting, while new customers entered the store continually needing customer service and sales help.  I feel lucky that we were able to hear Rosemarie give her whole spiel uninterrupted - she's a born teacher.  If you see her in the shop, ask her questions!   
On my first visit I bought a tin of Strawberry Ice (White Tea buds and leaves, Strawberry, Chamomile) and All Heart (Green Tea, Pink Rosebuds, Montmorency Cherry).  I like them both!

If you are interested in learning more about Light of Day Organic Teas, I encourage you to visit the farm (and their website!).  Also, watch the YouTube video they have posted in their "Press" section of their website.  You can see Angela explain her philosophy and get an overview of her tea farm.  It's wonderful.  If you have a chance to visit this interesting tea farm, do it!

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