Saturday May 14, 2011
Charleston Tea Plantation http://www.charlestonteaplantation.com
3:10 trolley tour
There are two trolleys - both were gotten off eBay.
We had the closed one, the winter one.
Lore - you will be married within 2 years if you ring the trolley bell.
Note - They do weddings at the plantation under the live oak.
I believe they said the tea first came to the us in 1860, and the plants at this plantation are from 1930 and 1960 - I jotted those dates but I wish I knew why!
The plantation is only half planted. The plantation is still expanding.
There are field of new 1-4 year old plots now that are not harvested. The plants need to be 5 years old. The baby plants get drop irrigation.
It should take 500 workers to pick the tea leaves, but the green giant - a converted tobacco and cotton harvester - does all that work and so they only need 2 workers in the field and 1 in the factory to run the entire operation.
There is approx 3" of new growth above the table top when the harvester comes through.
The fields are harvested in an 18 day cycle between the first week of May and the 3rd week of October - 5 days a week.
The plants need 1" a week of rain, when it doesn’t rain they have a 3 lake irrigation system.
They use no pesticides and the fields are hand weeded at the table (the level of the harvester).
In October when the harvesting is done the plants bloom (I want to go back and see that!).
5,000 lbs of leaves become 1,000 lbs after being processed.
It takes approximately 45 leaves to make a teabag.
Deer tend to sleep in the fields, but oddly do not eat the bushes.
Ireland drinks the most tea per person, 9lbs! Followed by England.
We got to see the green giant offloading its leaves into the truck.
Once we got done the trolley tour we went on the factory tour.
We actually got to see the leaves we had just watched be taken from the green giant and deposited into the truck go into the factory.
Then wandered the shop - I got some tea and iced tea spoons.
1: tea bush
2: tea bush
3: tea bush
4: green giant
5: green giant
6: tea bush
7: Green Giant
8: green giant
9: irrigation ditches
10: irrigation ditches
12: Live Oak
15: tea field
16: tea field
17: tea field
18: hiding house
19: factory and store
crazy teacup lawn things