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  • #9301

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    Our new website is up and running… http://www.filoliteafarm.com. Nigel @teacraft has made a trip to the humid Southern US and stayed a week consulting with us. Also, please follow us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FiloliTeaFarm to see our plants in the green house and follow them from cuttings to tea producing plants… Everything is moving quickly… I am happy to have found Nigel here and to be working toward commercial  US tea production very soon…

  • #9101

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *Also, Jackie and Peter,  I would like to extend an invitation to any tea grower in the mainland USA to join in on this forum… my grandfather always says, “two head are better than one especially if one is a doneky’s ass…” (mine being the donkey’s ass)

  • #9098

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *Also, to clear some client/consultant issues. As you see, I shared in a general non-disclosing way in my example of the rows. I welcome you (OFFICIALLY) to respond in any way that you see fit because the people here can bring up questions that maybe you or I cannot. I am a firm believer in knowledge is power and thinking outside of the box. As Jackie points out, I am no seasoned grower of tea– and honestly, I thought tea surely was growing somewhere in the cornbelt of the USA before I visited Charleston. Sometimes we never think of where our commodity products are coming from and sometimes as Americans, I believe, assume it grows in the USA. maybe that is our pompous attitude… or just plain ignorance… So I welcome you to post freely with any questions asked in this post. Well, with one caveat, if I ask, charge me… if they ask, don’t charge me… also, please keep the answers in a general vaguer manner… do not say, in Brookhaven, MS we are growing in this particular fashion, but instead, say… in some of my projects we find that if we grow in fashion “a” to fashion “b” we get “x” result… If this is agreeable to you, it is agreeable to me… Great talking with you today… I feel these irrigation guys can help us tremendously… I am VERY EXCITED about this entire project and glad and greatful you are involved… 

     

  • #9070

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *As to the mechanization, I am hoping to implement a solar powered version of am already used tea cutter in Japan. I am going to bounce that off of Nigel soon and Bill Hall. The technology exists separately, but again, one must think out of the box and try something new… Solar energy (which goes hand in hand with a tea field given it needs ample sunlight) will also aid in reducing costs… I am proposing putting green tea harvesters on a rail system to cut to 1 mm +/- to reduce loss of tea and have a series of these that can be moved from field to field. The large diesel powered top straight line cutter is a thing of the past… It is effective, don’t get me wrong, but we have to be forward thinking in an economy where fossil fuels are becoming war-kindling commodities…

    We are also researching some mechanized planters in many industries and have personally sent my pine forester to Myanmar and the Far East to make contacts and to try to “comb the globe” for mechanized practices for planting… This is TRULY the new frontier… Nigel has attempted and is studying a few ways to mechanize the planting and I hope he and I can find a useful planter already in existence or to create one… the sky is the limit here… this is what it is all about.. I want to know what to do… how to do it… how to do it better… Knowledge is power and knowledge should be free… I am also looking with Nigel to bring together a consortium of growers, if you will, to demystify the tea process… to make it available to the masses… however, as Nigel and myself know… as of late, you either buy information or you research it yourself… which of course is not free… So through social media and through a technical corner, I believe this type of info can be shared like in a local cooperative of growers and we can encourage more people to grow tea, however, as it stands, the secrets are well guarded because the information is worth a mint… 

  • #9045

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    We begin some bulldozing this week to prepare the site for proper irrigation needs… We are hoping to get alot of these things out of the way early so that we are adequately prepared for the arrival of the 60,000 plants… As many horticulturalists know, it takes usually 6 months for soil adjustments to really begin to show their efficiency… Although it seems that we are years away from planting (September 2014), we need to begin work now as the official clock to planting is less than 22 months away… exciting work… 

  • #8997

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    We are now pleased to announce that we are consulting with Teacraft Limited and Nigel thanks to teatra.de. I hope you will all follow us as we make commercial tea growing the next boom crop of Mississippi… We look forward to keeping you posted and you may all follow us on facebook at FiLoLi Farms and on http://www.filolifarms.com (soon to be revealed thanks to threesidedmedia.com)

  • #8930

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *we will be launching our website at http://www.filolifarms.com in the next two weeks

    follow us there please… we will post pics and blogs of the process… 

  • #8688

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    I was not aware that the Fairhope, Al site was an original outstation for Lipton. So I stand corrected, however, I still maintain that the success of any commercial venture in the USA will ride solely on the ability to mechanize and make for a more efficient field to cup process at as low of a price as possible. Also, banking heavily on good teas and agritourism. I am actually working on a schematic with Mississippi State University to reduce the size and cost of a harvester and to increase production per acre production by looking at designing a track system so that the harvesting is more stabilized and cutting in a step plateaued design giving us the ability to cut from the sides as well as the top (which is a drawback to the Lipton harvester which can only cut from the top). So, as you pointed out, Nigel, the Americans face a difficult task to reinvent the wheel but that is a costly process. We are trying to be creative in funding and taking advantage of the recession that we are in (labor is cheaper today than 8 years ago) to experiment and research what could be the new wave of mechanized tea production. Would love to have you come visit and give any input. I am a timber farmer and tea is as foreign to me as any other agricultural product beyond my small scope of pine… 

  • #8683

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *I would refute his claim of having Lipton stock which is the basis of American Classic Tea, as I know from first hand knowledge (unless he stole it through cuttings that were not authorized), he would not have this stock I tried as well from one of the partner’s in South Carolina and can tell you that those particular plants have not been nor will be for sale. So that claim is doubtful at the very least. I think he wanted to piggyback on the success of a great company with a superior quality tea. It is a work of mystery so I have sought out the advice of someone in the USA that has created and continues to create great tea in the USA. It does not come at a cheap price, but I agree with Nigel that we need to share our successes and our failures here in America to be able to make it. I have done just that. The mechanization required for this venture is a daunting task to say the least. The sheer cost of bare-boned 10 acres with harvester and processing plant with a tea bagging machine will cost a little under 2.5 million US Dollars and that is provided at a cost because I own a 30,000 sq foot building already that will house the processing plant and I own the land. As of late, I will fund this entire venture out-of-pocket (caveat– if government money comes available, I will take it, but I am not actively pursuing it… who wouldn’t? LOL) I will also say, the outpouring of support from our local community and state leaders has been amazing and we are making this a joint-effort as the State of Mississippi will benefit from this R&D project. Remember, The Charleston Tea Plantation and the Fairhope Tea Plantation are coastal, I am not. Tea has never been attempted in my growing zone or my elevation in the USA. I ask any local “hobby farmers” of tea in the US, please contact me at coaster_25 at hotmail dot com. I would love input, however, a commercial tea plantation is a totally different breed from a handcrafted or hand-picked hobby grower. In order to reduce costs, increase productivity and efficiency, and make a go of this, I need to know everything I can. I don’t want to sound snobbish by categorizing the hobby farmer from the commercial producer, but I do want to point out the difference for clarity of the blog readers. I feel that the Fairhope Tea Plantation was not quite a conflict of interest point, but more of a processing point and monetary point as to why they no longer exist. When I looked into this venture, I knew it would be costly, but my rough estimates only got me 1/4 of the way to the actual cost of this… I think I have a better view of the cost of the entire venture now and am proceeding, but I would have been out of money had I used my original budget projections and simply because I asked and researched and consulted with someone who had successfully done it here. Thank you for making that point Nigel and thank you for understanding that the mystery needs to be overcome for a success at this. My venture to date is still considered R&D, which is what the USA needs more of, but the downside is, It all comes at an ENORMOUS cost…. So, anyone who wants to share some insight here, feel free… or contact me directly… I came across this blog by researching everything I could on tea in the USA and I am glad I did…

  • #8618

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *Since these are propagated genetic clones and given the soil amendments and irrigation as well as subtropical climate, we can produce some tea within 3 years. If starting from seed, the precommercial phase is drastically extended by twice sometimes three times as long as starting from cuttings. The original article can be found at http://www.dailyleader.com and has been passed along. The article in the Clarion Ledger is a hybrid of a news clip from WLBT and the article in the Daily Leader. Some of the facts in the CL article are not exactly what was said originally. Also, I am 95 miles north of New Orleans in Southwest Mississippi not central which is a key element because the growing zone from USDA in Central Mississippi is different from the one I am in in SW Mississippi. Back to the original question: feasibility in 3 years… Yes… we will harvesting small amounts and have hired the services of a tea taster to blend our tea at that point. The commercial harvest will more than like begin somewhere around the 5 year mark or 2019. I will try to set up a blog if I can figure it out… I am not all that technologically savvy. You can follow us on facebook at FiLoLi Farms in Brookhaven, MS and we have purchased domain http://www.filolifarms.com but have not made a page yet.

  • #8611

    filoli.farms
    Participant
    @filoli.farms

    *No, I will not be subsidized. The pollution from nearby highways are not an issue as I am 7 miles from the nearest highway. They mentioned South America because Argentina is the number one importer to the USA as of late. But yes, thank you… I am going out on a limb here… I appreciate your support and any feedback. Follow us on Facebook FiLoLi Farms, Brookhaven, MS for pictures and progress.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)

filoli.farms

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active 3 years ago