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The Tea Plant Blog

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teas with Cheese

The Tea Plant and The Big Cheese recently hosted a tea and cheese pairing. Four teas and four cheeses were served. Bai Mu Dan was paired with Atlantic Mist, a brie style cheese from Mecox Dairy in Bridgehampton, NY. Jasmine Pearls was served with Farmhouse Cheddar (also from Mecox Dairy). Assam tea accompanied Moonlight Charoce Cheese, a St. Maure style cheese from Pine Plains, NY. Raspberry Melody, a black tea blend with raspberries and raspberry leaves, was served with Berkshire Blue Cheese from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Then dessert was served! A Jasmine Pearls sorbet topped with toasted coconut as well as a mango truffle completed the tasting. Both of these were made by Kim from Live Island Cafe, a raw food paradise - thanks Kim.

The tasting went smoothly and all 27 guests enjoyed themselves. The only glitch was the overbrewing of the Assam. Unfortunately, the tea became too strong and quite bitter on the third infusion - sorry about that folks! Luckily, some guests received a good cup.

We are looking forward to our next event and have already started planning so stay tuned!

We can thank Kayne Rourke from Kayne Designs for taking all of the wonderful pictures.


Monday, June 13, 2011

An Eye and a Cup Full

Over Memorial Day Weekend we had the chance to drive to up to New Paltz, New York and a little beyond. We visited a wonderful farmer's market in Rhinebeck and saw some historic locations in Kingston, but the highlight of the trip was visiting High Falls to go to the studio of Kaete Brittin Shaw.

Visiting Kaete's studio brings back the feeling of being a child in a candy store. The excitement builds on the ride there. Once inside, it gets even better. Kaete's studio is bursting with eye-catching, thought-provoking artwork. Every piece has something to offer. Some of our favorites include Kaete's collaborative works with Hardie Truesdale and outdoor sculpture, "aerial tendrils, Unison." Of course we cannot forget the pieces that first introduced us to Kaete, the wonderful sculptural and whimsical Stacking Bowls, and cast porcelain Cups.

Although Kaete's bowls and cups have several functions, we immediately thought that they would be perfect for sipping tea! They fit comfortably in hand and the tea looks beautiful inside. The tea experience is extra special when drinking from these bowls or cups. And, for that, as well as for welcoming us into your studio and sharing part of you with us, we want to say "thank you Kaete." We hope that Kaete's bowls have made sharing tea with friends and family as special for others as it has been for us.

For more information about the artist, to see more work by Kaete, and for a schedule of exhibits, please visit the website.


ARTIST'S STUDIO:
Route 213
High Falls, NY 12440
845-687-7828

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ride On

On May 1st we had the opportunity to participate in the Susan B. Komen Spin for the Cure at Ellen's Fitness Studio in Plainview. An amazing community of men and women gathered to ride their hearts out to help fight breast cancer. We had an exilerating and challenging ride that left us feeling excited and motivated. We want to thank everyone at Ellen's Fitness for letting us share our tea and be part of an inspirational event.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The North Fork

The day was rainy and the wind was strong, but we still had a great time meeting new friends at The Lenz Winery on Saturday, April 23rd. We ate cheese from Mecox Dairy, purchased jam from Oysterponds Farm, smelled delicious handmade soaps produced by Soaps by Susan, enjoyed honey from BeePharm, hung out with our friends from Lexi's Barkery, enjoyed wonderful wine from Lenz and tried a variety of other local treats.

Don't be sad if you missed out this time because there will be several other markets at The Lenz Winery. Here are the dates:

Friday, July 1st from 5-8pm
Friday, August 5th from 5-8pm
Saturday, September 3rd from 5-8pm
Saturday, October 1st from 5-8pm

We hope to see you there!
MARKET LOCATION:
3855 Main Road (Route 25)
Peconic, NY 11598
631-734-6010



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Get Your (G)local On



Our tea comes from afar, but our main focus is on sharing it with the locals. One of the highlights of our spring and summer season is being at the outdoor farmers markets. We feel lucky to be part of these events where we get ongoing inspiration from local vendors, artisans and farmers who work hard to produce healthy food and wholesome products and build awareness around what goes into making it all. That is why we were so excited to attend the recent Small Farm Summit at Long Island's SUNY Old Westbury College Campus last Friday. The event was extremely motivating. Seeing so many people here on Long Island care so much about the source and safety of their food served as a reminder of the vibrant agricultural opportunities and communities in our own backyard!

There were many highlights to the event but for us, hearing Joel Salatin, from Polyface Farms speak, was wonderful. We first learned about Polyface Farms several years ago after reading an eye-opening book called The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. In this book, Pollan follows food from origin to table and highlights the individual and global implications surrounding the food choices we make. During his keynote and more focused workshop at The Small Farm Summit, Joel Salatin also spoke to this point. He illustrated how small-scale (almost portable) farming supports the local community, provides agricultural and economic sustainability and builds all-around integrity at the personal level and beyond. His discussions were passionate and enthusiastic, breathing life into a new generation of food growers and purveyors. Instead of maintaining secrets around his farming practices, he was eager to share the proven methods and models that have contributed to the success of his farm.

In a time when it seems that many large farms want to keep more secrets, it's refreshing to know that not every farmer is afraid to provide a window into how they produce their food and how they believe it affects the natural world and the people who consume it. We are thankful for courageous people like Joel Salatin who are unafraid to share ideas and take a stand for what they believe is right. We appreciate that he came all the way from Swoope, Virginia to Long Island's Nassau County to make the world a little bit smarter and a little bit smaller.

At The Tea Plant we hope to incorporate some of what we learned last week into our own practices. While we cannot always source our tea from small farms, we do our best to learn about where the tea is from, who picked it and how it has been produced. Someone mentioned the term "glocal" at The Summit. While there are many sides to this term, and it can sometimes be controversial, with our tea, we'd like to connect the locals with products from small communities around the globe so that these items can be enjoyed and those who had a hand in making them can be appreciated. We recognize that we aren't there yet, but we will keep trying to do our part to make the world a little better by striving to make it a little bit smaller however we can.


Monday, March 28, 2011

At the Market

While it may not feel like spring because of the chill in the air today, it is finally here! And, with only a few weeks left of the indoor markets, we want to remind everyone that they can still get their farm fresh fix from the Northport Indoor Farmer's Market. Come to this market, located off of Main Street, in Saint Paul's Methodist Church, on April 2nd and 16th. In addition to live music and crafts for kids, you will find natural soaps, delicious spreads and preserves, fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, honey, homemade pet treats, fresh ravioli, meats and tea (of course). As we get closer to Memorial Day and the start of the outdoor markets, it's nice to know that there is still a cozy, indoor place to get the healthy goods.

For more information on the Northport Indoor Market, as well as other upcoming market events, please visit the following link:


See you at the markets!


LOCATION:
Saint Paul's United Methodist Church
Northport, NY 11768
10:00am-12:30pm

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Human Connection: Reflecting on Events in Japan

Today's post reflects on the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has affected Japan. Aside from the emotional impact that communities are enduring, the unprecedented damage of the natural disasters that took place on March 11th have disrupted normal life all over Japan by upsetting daily routines, causing power outages and transportation issues, and by forcing individuals to conserve energy and food. As we continue to see on television and read in the news, the effects of these natural disasters continue to unfold, causing ripple effects in other parts of the world.

For us at The Tea Plant, the events that have occurred in Japan have made us think about the fragility of human life and how ironically strong people can be in the midst of what seems to be a disaster of proportions too large to articulate. As we consider this, one particular question keeps coming to mind: Could anyone survive such an event if not for the human connection?

Like many with friends in Japan or those who know Americans with family there, the first thing we did when we heard about the earthquake was reach out to to be sure everyone was alright. We are thankful that distant relatives and our tea friends in Japan are safe. As we continue to think about the many people who have been displaced from their homes, separated from their families and witness to the destruction of their communities, however, we wish that there was more that we could do to help.

On a personal level, we made several donations to various groups in hopes that the money will be used well. The Tea Plant, however, will be providing further information in the coming weeks about ways that we will be donating to help those in need as a company. While we are very small, we have several ideas in mind.

In the meantime, we have provided some links below to organizations that are collecting funds to support recovery efforts. In addition to drinking a cup of Japanese green tea and sending good intentions to those who are dealing with hardship in Japan during these difficult times, please consider making a donation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cha-An


On a recent Sunday we had a chance to take a tea break at one of our favorite tea spots in NYC, Cha-An. This Japanese-style tea house is a favorite not only because of the peaceful and zen-like environment, but also because of the Japanese teas and delicacies available on the menu.

During our visit we had a Japanese Sencha and a Puer tea coupled with some Matcha truffles. It was nice to take time out to enjoy our delightful snack served inside white ceramic tea bowls.
Each tea was prepared just at it should be. The water temperature for the Sencha and the Puer was perfect. This is one of the things that distinguishes a tea experience at Cha-An from other tea houses. The taste of the Sencha was also sweet and vegetal, and remained lovely even after the third steeping. The very aromatic Puer produced a clear and deep reddish-brown liquor that was sturdy and smooth with a wonderful aftertaste. In addition, the staff at Cha-An is amazingly attentive. Once a cup is empty, more water is immediately offered for additional steepings. The whole experience is unrushed and meditative. As far as we're concerned, that is how tea drinking should be.

CHA-AN TEA HOUSE LOCATION:
230 East 9th Street
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003
Phone:212-228-8030

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Woman's Journey to Wellness Day


On March 6th, we had the privilege to participate in "A Woman's Journey to Wellness" at the Huntington YMCA. We shared tea and conversation with a wonderful group of health conscious women from our community. We met massage therapists, acupuncturists, fitness instructors and bakers. We also learned about sustainable fishing and tasted some delicious samples from Wild Planet Foods. The best part, however, was that we saw women taking time for themselves and then leaving looking calm and relaxed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CommuniTEA


Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company. ~Author Unknown

Tea brings people together. Tea comforts people in solitude. Everyday, around the world, tea is part of individual rituals, community gatherings and ceremonies. When we participate in our local farmer's markets and share tea with others, we experience how tea brings us together.

Today we are introducing The Tea Plant community blog so that we can share information about tea and how we experience it at local community gatherings and around the world. We hope you will enjoy reading our posts, but we also invite you to comment and share your tea experiences in the future.


 

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