We have been importing fresh Japanese green tea directly from a small farm in Uji Tawara since 2008, for our personal consumption and to share with our customers. You may have already read about our trip to Uji to see the cherry blossoms and Byodo-in temple but this time we’d like to show you our green tea farm in Uji Tawara, a half hour drive away from the main town of Uji.
There is only one way to describe the tiny valley in which the farm is situated – serene. Tall cedar trees line the steep hills and a tiny creek flows through the property.
Conventionally tea plants are cut into domes to maximise the short hours of sunlight (it is now still winter) and further up the hill are the wild branches of the organic crop.
The transition to organic farming is a long hard task. For three years the farmer has to pick bugs from the tea plants by hand. After this the frogs and spiders return and do all the hard work. Less than 2% of green tea in Japan is organic.
This valley has the perfect microclimate for growing high quality tea. At night a mist forms from the stream and despite freezing temperatures there is no frost. Other farms use misting machines and fans but no need here. Also the stream makes a happy home for the frogs that tend to the organic tea plants.
A short walk from the tea farm is a large official sign stating that we are standing exactly where the very first green tea in Uji was planted about 850 years ago. To think that Eisai may have enjoyed green tea from this very farm.
If you’ve never tasted farm fresh Japanese green tea, we thoroughly recommend you try. It’s full of flavour, healthy, nutritious and nothing like the green tea available from your local supermarket.