Since October 2015, Devon tea company Plymouth Tea has been cultivating 500 tea plants in a Victorian walled garden at Maristow in the Tamar Valley near the coastal town of Plymouth. Partnering with community worker and horticulturalist Jenny Tunley-Price and a local school, plants were obtained from Practical Plants Ltd.
Some have been planted inside the walls of the old kitchen garden, while others are now growing in the uncultivated land outside the walls. The plants were about four years old when they arrived, so have sturdy roots and have grown better than expected through the recent mild winter. The land is a steep west-facing slope where the soil is acid clay loam that is full of rich organic matter. Plucking began in the spring this year and the company intends to make green tea and trial different blends to create their own signature tea.
In Wales, Wild Fig fruit farm has planted 0.6 of an acre under polytunnels and have germinated some 30,000 seedlings (grown from sinensis, Nepali, Georgian, north Indian, and West Bengali seeds) that will be planted next spring on six acres. There are plans to plant out a total of 15 acres and, in a few years’ time, to market both loose and bagged tea, and a blended Welsh product through direct sales independent retailers, trade events, food festivals, etc.