“There is a natural progression to everything in life: plant, cultivate, harvest. You plant, then you cultivate, and finally you harvest. In today’s world, everyone wants to go directly from plant to harvest.”
- Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge
The author quoted above is an entrepreneur and is using an agricultural concept to make a point about growing business. Well, for us his words hit home on both fronts. We are guilty. We want to pluck more leaf, make more tea, and grow our business. We want the big harvest. But, as Henri Alain says, “Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an Ox in two days.”
As of this year, we have approximately 5,000 plants in the ground. However, because they need to grow for three years before harvesting, we only have 2,500 plants in production. We pluck new leaf every 1 to 2 weeks between the months of May and October. It takes roughly 50 labor hours to hand process 125 one-ounce bags of tea. And if you are familiar with south Mississippi weather, you know that August harvests are truly a labor of love.
For all that we have learned in the past five years of farming, we still face one incredibly difficult reality - Mother Nature is the boss. We are just the current caretakers. Despite our rain dances and prayerful requests for more leaf, we must respect her timing. We must cultivate.
The word cultivate conjures hard work as well as loving care. There is a time-factor to cultivation, which is probably the hardest part for humans. Hillary and I now have a new understanding of patience - a multi-year and multi-generational patience. We are here for the long haul. Thank you for joining our journey as we continue to cultivate this farm, this company, and this community.