I very much regret that we shall not be able to supply the promised Darjeeling seed to US tea growers this year. With considerable effort and exertion we sorted out correct import logistics into the USA, and 60,000 seeds were collected and packed waiting to be shipped from Darjeeling. However, our best efforts were stymied by the Indian Government’s unwillingness to issue an export license for tea seed. This, we discovered, after several months of battling with obdurate bureaucracy. We were offered several ways of illegally exporting tea seed, but while that might work once it is in country, it’s no way to build the US tea growing industry – so we shall, behind the scenes, continue to argue for a license for the end of next year – but for this year there will be no Darjeeling seed.
I am negotiating with our supplier in the Republic of Georgia to fill the gap. Seed is now being collected there and this will continue until the snows set in. We have a US import permit for seed from Georgia and as you may know, we successfully imported tea seed from there in 2012 for Bob Sims in Alabama. As Bob will confirm Georgian seed is as tough as a Soviet tank, producing really cold hardy plants.
I expect the Georgian seed to be delivered to the USA in late December or January 2015. If anyone would like to convert their expressed interest for Darjeeling seed to Georgian seed please let me know the number required and I will put you on the waiting list. Price, terms and conditions should be much the same as for Darjeeling seed.
Best wishes, Nigel