Yoshi's Chrysanthemum - Limited Edition
Ever since opening our shop seven years ago we have hoped that, one day, we would be able to offer a tea that was grown and crafted locally, in BC. For us, tea is the product of a unique plant grown in a distinguished terroir, made with the kind of care and understanding that allows the plant’s innate qualities to emerge. This kind of tea culture is an expression of the land, the climate, and the vision of the individual who grows and creates it, in concert.
For the past 4 years, we’ve been fortunate to know Yoshi of Cedar Isle Farm. We met Yoshi at a farmer’s market a few years ago and were intrigued by him and his approach to farming. As we learned more about his organic farming methods, we grew more and more inspired by Yoshi – He is passionate about sustainable farming, cares deeply about the land he lives and works on and the people he engages with, and he is a pioneer in many ways; unconventional, and always willing to try something new.
Cedar Isle farm is a special place. It is a small, family run farm in Seabird Isle in Agassiz, BC, and the passion project of Yoshi, Jim, Diane, and their dog Bella who oversee it. They attend to this place and the many animals that live on it in the lush grassland of the valley, overseen by snow-capped Mount Cheam in the distance. Cedar Isle is the only farm in the province to grow organic grains like oats, wheat, and rye. It is a beautiful, productive, and still very serene place that I am grateful to be able to visit in different seasons.
Yoshi’s chrysanthemum plants are a varietal called Garland Chrysanthemum: Shungiku 春菊 in Japanese, or Tung Ho 茼蒿 in Chinese. They are native to the Mediterranean, and found their way to China during the Song Dynasty some 900 years ago. Yoshi planted the seeds at Cedar Isle Farms in April. Tiny buds started sprouting in late June and Yoshi carefully harvested the first flush of golden flowers in August. Together, we gathered around 6 kg of fresh flowers from this year's harvest, which became a mere 900 grams of tea after processing!
As you will see when you look at the tea, the flowers have been dried with minimal intervention, preserving the flowers in as natural a state as possible. The flowers still look full and vital, and their deeply pigmented yellow leaves reanimate as soon as they are submerged in water. Wet, they light up like semi-translucent orange jelly.
This year’s harvest is especially delicious - just to smell the dried flowers is an experience! They yield a herbaceous, full bodied tea with bright citrus and honey notes, and a liquor tinted electric yellow, like something that has leaked directly from the sun.
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|Steep time||2 - 5 min
|No. of infusions||5