Yesterday I drove up to the new tea farm property with Grace and Roy. It sits over the ridge to the east from Napa Valley, amidst fruit and nut orchards that have just burst into bloom in the spring sunshine. A mild breeze carried the scent of fresh grass and sun-warmed wildflowers, while hosts of birds darted and twittered in the trees and tall grass. Even apart from tea ambitions, it's a lovely place where you immediately feel the potent yet mellow, nurturing energy Roy often mentions. We couldn't brew tea there yet because the former owners aren't leaving until next month, but we did celebrate with a small thermos of uncommonly sweet and velvety 30-year-old puerh.
There will be many more reports as the project evolves, but here are a few photos to whet your appetite:
You enter the property through impressive gates.
The drive proceeds through an almond orchard lined with wildflowers. Roy will leave the orchard intact and grow his own tea snacks!
There's a small house attached to a large workshop area that will become retail space. The wisteria-shaded pergola calls out to tea drinkers.
One day, this slope behind the house will be planted in tea bushes.
The property includes a large, professional greenhouse where tender young tea plants can get their start.
Roy plans to grow lotus in the scenic pond. There's a footbridge to the small island.
Beside the pond is an inviting picnic area, shaded with vines in the summer, that will be a relaxing spot for enjoying pots of fine tea.
One of the many interesting birds on the property was this distinctively marked killdeer.