Crafting tea in Fairhope, Alabama

Our friends in Fairhope, Alabama, give us a little demonstration of their tea making process! Thanks Donnie! http://ow.ly/NBVz2

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What is TOTUS?

TOTUS logoby Naomi Rosen

Raise your hand if you are still running on the high of World Tea Expo? (***Raises hand!) The offerings this year did not disappoint:

  • The USLTG hosted a well attended meetup.
  • Nigel Melican led an informative and thought provoking class on how to Sucessfully Grow Tea in the US (more details to come).
  • Selena Ahmed led an incredible class on Sustainability and Climate Mitigation in Tea Growing (more details to come).
  • Jason McDonald led a successful Tea Planting Workshop at the Tealet House right after Expo.

It’d be hard to imagine something that could top the line-up above, but I left Expo buzzing about this news: The TOTUS Awards are going to crown a US grown tea! 

What is TOTUS

TOTUS stands for “Tea of the United States”. Per their website, “Now that there is an increase in domestic tea production aligned with an American origin initiative, we hope that the TOTUS Awards 2015 will encourage those who have pioneered US tea farming to gain national recognition for their uniquely crafted teas and further educate consumers supporting domestic tea agriculture.”

So how is this going to work? 

It’s pretty simple. The competition is open to all US growers, small or large, Commercial or Non-Commercial. You simply have to be able to provide a tea sample weighing 36 grams. Commerical growers will submit their samples ($100 entry fee per sample) into 4 different categories: White, Green, Oolong, and Black. Non-commercial growers are able to enter the same categories ($40 entry fee per sample), but will compete against other non-commercial growers.

  • Commercial Grower – Tea Growers that produce and sell a minimum of 5 pounds of 100% US grown Camellia sinensis tea per year.
  • Non-Commerical Grower – Beginning Farmers, Researchers, and/or Hobbyists that produce and sell less than 5 pounds of 100% US grown Camellia sinensis tea per year.

Growers will need to submit an entry form by October 16, 2015, and all samples will have to be in hand by October 26, 2015. For more details about the submission of teas, please visit the TOTUS Rules & Info page

Judging and Awards

The judging process will be held November 4, 2015 and is closed to the public. There are 5 esteemed jurors on the panel including Jane Pettigrew, Kevin Gascoyne, and Selena Ahmed. TOTUS Award winners will be announced online on November 7, 2015, and a celebratory event is tentatively being scheduled in Hawaii for that day as well.

Commercial growers will be competing for a cash prize in each category (White, Green, Oolong, and Black) as well as a public announcement on Totus1Awards.com.

  • 1st Place $1,000
  • 2nd Place $500
  • 3rd Place $250 

Non-commecial growers will be competing for certificate awards in each category (White, Green, Oolong, and Black) as well as a public announcement on Totus1Awards.com.

  • 1st Place certificates 
  • 2nd Place certificates 
  • 3rd Place certificates 

Did I mention that the US League of Tea Growers is a proud Camellia Sinensis Level Sponsor and we encourage our friends to look into supporting this event as well?

So, let’s hear it! How exciting is this? In just a few months, we’ll have US tea growers going head to head and standards for US grown tea will start to take form. These are exciting times my friends, exciting times indeed.

NEW: Grower Spotlight

Tea House Timesby Naomi Rosen

We’d like to send a gigantic thank you to Gail and the team at The Tea House Times! They have graciously offered the USLTG a regular monthly column on their blog, and we’ve decided that that space would be best served spotlighting our US tea growers!

There are a few ways you can help us out!

  1. Visit the Tea House Times blog and check out the very first grower spotlight: Tsubaki Camellias, Inc.
  2. Let us know what you’d like to hear about from US tea growers! What questions should we ask? What information is helpful to other growers? You can do so in the comments section below, or email our Media team directly at naomi@joysteaspoon.com.
  3. Last, but certainly not least, let us know if you and your tea growing venture would like to be featured. You must grow tea in the US, and you must be a member of the USLTG in good standing. Again, you can email our media team at naomi@joysteaspoon.com!

Again, thank you so much to The Tea House Times for supporting US tea growing efforts and thank you to our growers that are willing to share a bit about their gardens.

USLTG Executive Committee Nominations

Election Graphicsby Nigel Melican

We are now seeking nominations for Executive Committee positions. Term of office is 12 months beginning August 1, 2015.

 

Executive Committee positions are:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Atlantic Coast Chapter member
  • Gulf Coast Chapter member
  • Pacific Coast Chapter member
  • Membership Coordinator
  • Media Coordinator

You may nominate a person for one or more position, or you may nominate yourself. Nominations must be received by May 31, 2015. Please send your nomination to one or more of the Nominations Committee members below:

Please send nomination, to a member of the Nominations Committee, in this format:

I (name)____________ nominate (name)_____________(email address)____________ for the position of (state position) ____________ on the Executive Committee of the US League of Tea growers.

The Nominations Committee will follow up with your Nominee to confirm their acceptance and eligibility.

Timeline for the election process is:

  • May 31, 2015         Deadline for nominations
  • June 2, 2015          Nomination slate announced by President
  • June 22, 2015        Electoral ballot by email opens
  • June 27, 2015        Electoral ballot by email closes
  • August 1, 2015      Exec Committee Officers and Members commence term

Thank you in advance for your nominations and we look forward to debuting our new Executive Committee in the coming months!