by Naomi Rosen
Words getting out in the academic world about the efforts of US tea growers and there are some really great projects being formed to help promote US grown tea. One such program, put together by Dr. Susan Walcott of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has approached us requesting assistance from our members and we wanted to make sure we got the information out to each of you!
At the moment, they are creating a Tea Terroir Map of the US. This is done by gathering spatial data that will be overlayed with physical conditions. At first, the map will only offer an initial sampling but down the road, could be a web-based display with layers at different scales. This information will be useful in determining where and why tea is growing best and might help mitigate certain problems that can be fixed prior to tea planting (less than ideal rainfall could be treated with proper irrigation and rainfall collection points, how microclimates affect tea growth, etc.).
Dr. Walcott is requesting basic, voluntary information at this point from growers that are purposely cultivating (rather than random yard interest): If you have your tea garden’s lat-long, zip code, or town name – any of that can be “geo-coded” and placed in the location layer. The idea is to see how this corresponds to the other terroir features.
Dr. Walcott can be contacted with tea garden locations, or questions about the Tea Terroir Mapping Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks in advance to growers that participate! Our hope is that this mapping project can help future growers and move US grown tea a few steps forward!