This week I want to talk about tea grown right here in the United States. And to kick things off is the place I know the most about. My parents were married in Charleston, South Carolina. My Momma was living and working with her best friend in her home state when my Daddy and his best friend sailed into the Navy yard there. The rest is history, Momma and Daddy got married and their best friends ended up marrying each other as well!
I have always had a love affair with Charleston. Everything I love about the South is summed up in Charleston. So what better place to start this series than at The Charleston Tea Plantation!
The Charleston Tea Plantation is located on historic Wadmalaw Island in the heart of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. The history of the Island dates back to mid-June of 1666 when it is believed that Captain Robert Sanford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay landed on the shores of what is now known as Rockville, South Carolina. On June 23, 1666, he and his crew claimed the land for England and the Lords Proprietors. Today, Wadmalaw is considered to be one of Charleston’s most unspoiled islands. It is approximately 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. The Island’s only connection to the mainland is a bridge that crosses over Church Creek.
Wadmalaw provides the perfect environment for propagating tea. With its sandy soils, sub-tropical climate and average rainfall of 52 inches per year, Wadmalaw possess idyllic conditions for the Camellia Sinensis plant. This plant is currently used to produce both black and green teas and exists in over 320 varieties on the 127 acre grounds.
The Charleston Tea Plantation is the home of American Classic Tea, tea grown in America. Located in the heart of Low Country it boasts a working Tea Factory and a Plantation Gift Shop. In 2003, the Bigelow Family purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and formed a partnership with the former owner, William Barclay Hall. American Classic Teas are the only teas made from the green leaf provided by the tea plants on the grounds.
You can purchase tea in the Gift Shop, on-line or at stores listed on their website: http://www.charlestonteacompany.com They also offer a line of Body products as well!
They offer tours both inside and out where you can see and hear how the tea goes from plant to product. Hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. They also offer group tours, so call ahead at 843-559-0383.
The Trolley tour is especially nice ending with a trip to the Gift Shop and all the American Classic Iced Tea you can drink!