Weather in the southeastern US has been unpredictable this entire year. First we were hit with an unexpected back door tropical storm which left debris and damage everywhere, then Matthew blew in causing another disruptive mess. We had the warmest winter on record with temperatures reaching 80ºF in January and February. This unusually warming caused the tea plants to begin flushing in mid February. This normally doesn’t happen for us until April. Our “first flush” tea is a highly anticipated treat, but the sudden 21ºF winter freeze in early March was anything but that. All of the new growth on our tea was damaged.
It broke my heart seeing all my hard work damaged. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! I had a friend suggest we pick the brown darkened leaves and try to make some “frost tea” as they called it. And that I did! It was not bad. I didn’t really do anything to it except let it sit on a tray a few hours.
The taste of this First Flush Frost Tea was a like a mixture of white, green, oolong and black – all rolled into one. I was pleasantly surprised, but hope that I don’t have to experience it again. Interestingly, most of the older growth on the plants was unharmed except for a few seedling varieties. Those particular ones may prove to not be as cold tolerant and I will watch them as they grow.
I’m sure my First Flush Frost Tea will not win any awards, but it certainly made me feel better and look at life a little more positively!
I have the best job in the world…I get to walk out of my back door and across the yard to a greenhouse and nursery full of Camellias and do what I love every day. Sometimes, when it’s very hot or very cold or when problems arise I do question my career path, but I always come back to the same place….I’m where I’m supposed to be!