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"Tea Time" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, November 2010

"Is that soup?"

"No…it's tea, real tea."

This particular exchange occurred with a hot mug full of foliage in my hand and a bombilla straw poised on my lips: the former being my tea of choice, the latter my means for consuming liquid, not greens. I also had a flummoxed visitor scratching his head over the scene.

See, here at D Acres Permaculture Farm & Educational Homestead, when we talk tea, we're talking home-grown herbs that we've tended, harvested, dried, and blended by hand. During the warmer months, we simply walk out the back door and select our share of lemon balm, mint, nettle, calendula…the possibilities are numerous. We also spend hours each week through the summer and early fall drying and storing all manner of herbs. Although the gardens are less than lush this time of year, our shelves and cabinets are over-stocked with a plethora of aromatic bunches.

The next step, then, is to put 'em in a pot, steep 'em in water, and voilá – you've got the best tea going. Say I'm biased if you must, but think on it. These herbs are tended with care and perspicacity, from the soil in which each plant is grown to the conditions in which each leaf is dried. Tea, for us, is akin to our daily medicine, a means of promoting health and wellbeing in our day-to-day routines.

And we want to share that with you! Granted, a cup of tea is offered to most anyone who passes through the farm and that's still the case, but we're going one step further. After a decade of taste-testing our favorite concoctions, we've developed Summer 2010, D Acres' original organic tea blend. It contains nettle, raspberry leaf, mint, lemon balm, holy basil, echinacea, calendula, rose petal, and lavender. Just two teaspoons in your favorite mug makes for a delicious brew.

New this month, Summer 2010 is available at a variety of Main Street establishments in Plymouth, as well as the Common Café in Rumney. Stop by and ask for a cup; we appreciate your support of our local economy. We're also selling the blend here at the farm and online (www.localfoodsplymouth.org) if you'd prefer brewing it yourself.

Drinking a glass of tea calls many thoughts to mind: bucolic images, satiated sensations, well-tended garden plots, perfumed pantries, and invigorating warmth. For us here at D Acres, Summer 2010 is quite literally the story of a season, produced with the work of many hands. It is a reflection of our soil's vigor, the health of our birds and bees, the result of attention and conscientiousness, a means of health and comfort throughout the passing months.

What would you add to that list? Give our tea a try; let us know what you think. We want you, too, to be part of this season's unfolding chapter. Tea-time, anyone?

Beth Weick lives and works at D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead, a non-profit service organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 as an intern, and now focuses her work on gardening, tending to the animals, and writing. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

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