TEA PLANTATION IN SCOTLAND
The Wee Tea Plantation has opened in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands, and already, we are picking our first leaves. The Wee Tea Company has planted 2000 Tea Plants (Camelia Sinensis) in Perthshire, making it one of the largest commercial tea plantations in Europe, and certainly the only commercial tea plantation in Scotland.
Some of the first tea ever planted in Scotland!
To some, the idea of growing tea successfully in Scotland might sound as likely as Scotland winning the next world cup! The Wee Tea Company has different ideas. We have set our sights on transforming the chilly Perthshire landscape into something more akin to a sloping Sri Lankan mountainside covered in Tea plants. The main tea growing regions of the world, such as India, China, Japan and Taiwan are famed for warmer, humid climates. So how on earth can these plants survive the Scottish weather? Using a mixture of cutting-edge growing technologies, and a little common sense – the answers all become clear. The reality is that once the plants have matured enough, there is no reason why they should not be able to withstand even the coldest winter spells.
Go back 70 years, and you will find Winston Churchill had plans to cover the British countryside in tea plants to help fuel the war effort. Timing meant the idea was abandoned. Newly appointed Director of The Wee Tea Company Tam O’Braan, has been developing crop growing systems all over the world for many years, and it is the use of these technologies that will see these tea plants through their first few years. With 165 million cups of tea consumed in Britain every day, there is no reason to doubt the worlds tea plantations are in short supply.
With that in mind, the question “WHY?” springs to mind! Co-Founder and Director Derek Walker prefers to ask “WHY NOT?” He states: “As we all become more aware of our carbon footprint, and as consumers look more closely at where food truly comes from, it is clear food buyers want home grown produce. Scotland is blessed with clean air, fresh spring water and good soil. In many ways, our growing conditions are ideal.
The Wee Tea Company is on a mission to product truly local tea!” Initially, the tea grown in Scotland will only be available in specific locations, including the Shop which will be opening soon on the Wee Tea Plantation site. Locals and tourists alike will be able to take guided tours of the tea plantation, which will involve learning about tea, seeing the actual shrubs first hand (which will be a first for most of us), learning about the growing and processing of tea and ultimately having a wee taste in the Wee Tea Pagoda before leaving. So the next time you drive through rural Perthshire look for the ‘igloo in the desert’, the storm in the teacup that is Scotland’s first commercial tea plantation. They’ll be glad to see you and show you around!