Monday, August 27, 2007

Seems Reasonable; Boston Tea Party Museum; End of Summer Sale

A Class Act

Actress Jane Seymour has responded to protestors camped outside her English country home in a unique way - by instructing her butler to serve them tea. More than 50 of the star’s neighbours arrived at her estate near Bath to dispute a 24 hour entertainment licence granted to St Catherine’s Court, a venue which Seymour rents out for functions.

Locals complain the noise and increase in traffic is making their lives miserable.
Instead of confronting the protestors, Seymour’s estate manager Hein van Borstenbosch provided them with refreshments, in fine bone china, and accepted a 200-signature petition.

I can't comment on the merits of the dispute, but I definitely agree that serving tea was the right thing to do.

Boston Tea Party

I heard today that the Museum of the Boston Tea Party had another devastating fire. The museum was set to re-open next year after a prior fire closed it down.

End of Summer Sale

Stand by for some price markdowns on discontinued items. Also, we had a bit of trouble filling all of last year's gift basket orders. We are basically only offering two baskets this year. To guarantee delivery, please order early.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Great Leap Forward

We have finally (I even thought of capitalizing the letter "F") sorted out our supply problems with Japanese cast-iron teapots. I know the market is flooded with Chinese made "tetsubin" and that there have been an abundance of low priced, cheaply made Chinese cast-iron pots that look like the original Japanese pots. We have stuck with Iwachu (Made in Japan) and have begun receiving shipments this week. I personally apologize to those customers that have had to wait. Paperwork received indicates that we are going to be getting a fair amount of inventory over the next few weeks and should have all items in stock again by Labor Day. For those tea drinkers who know -- there really is a difference.

For those who wish to contribute to our school supply drive, please send me an e-mail at Basically, we will collect and distribute school supplies free of charge to anyone who claims a need. Donations are not tax deductible - we are not a registered charity -- this is just a do-the-right-thing kind of thing. Bookbags, calculators, pencils, etc. are all appreciated. School starts in a few weeks.

Finally, I don't usually use this forum to tout other web sites, but I wanted to tell you about Freecycle. I moderate our local Rockland County freecycle through yahoo groups. The goal is to give things away with no strings attached and to receive free items that would otherwise end up in landfills. There is a lot of good that can be done in the world; the trick is to get started somewhere, doing something. After all -- there is Power in Our Union.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tea Is Big Business; Kidney cancer

Two Billion Gallons

Tea is big business in the United States. Americans slug down more than 2 billion gallons of it each year, most of it brewed from tea bags and 85 percent of it in the form of iced tea, according to the Tea Association.

What a shame that most tea drinkers miss out on the finer teas -- the loose leaf oolongs, whites, greens and black teas. Readers of this blog know my favorite iced tea is our Formosa Oolong.

Drinking More Coffee and Tea May Decrease Risk of Kidney Cancer

According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, increased intake of coffee and tea appears to decrease the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma. For the full article, go to:

Smiling Cat Tea Cup

We seem to be having a massive run on our smiling cat tea cup:, bottom of the page. If someone can tell me where the publicity has been, I would appreciate it. Whenever there is a flood of orders for one item, there always seems to ahve been a press mention somewhere. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Skin Disorder, Etiquette, and Bee Stings

I was going to write today about an article from teh Medical College of Georgia about green tea holding promise as a new treatment for skin disorders such as psoriasis and dandruff, but I got side-tracked by this piece fro the UK Telegraph:

"A seaside tea room is throwing out customers if they commit that most cardinal of sins - dunking their biscuits. Resting elbows on tables, clinking spoons on the sides of cups while stirring, using a mobile phone and being rude about the Queen or other Royals are also likely to lead to ejection from the Tea Cosy in Brighton. Now the strict code of 'tearoom etiquette' introduced by co-owner David Daly - and prominently displayed on every menu - is prompting debate on a Facebook site with some customers describing the rules as 'fascist'. "

For the full story, click:

I am glad that we are not taking ourselves so seriously.

This may be my last garden update -- I am not sure. Viewer mail seems to say, "Stick to tea." I foolishly mentioned my bees last week and as you would guess promptly got stung this weekend by an angry one (probably not a reader of this blog). Anyway, the bite was on the ear, and yes it is quite painful. Ice. Lots of ice, right away. Oh, yes, I was mowing high weeds near my garden to prevent the weed seeds from landing in the garden and I must have disturbed a nest or hive.

We live and we learn.

Friday, August 3, 2007

What is Red Tea? A Garden Update

First there was black tea, then green tea and white tea. The new rage is "red" tea, but what is it? Red tea is caffeine-free and has some of the same antioxidants as other teas, but, it's not really tea at all.

National wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil recently discussed red tea in a column at Black, green and white teas all come from "Camelia sinensisis," "the tea plant," he says. They differ only in the processing, which determines the levels of caffeine and antioxidants. Red tea or Rooibos ("red bush") tea is a South African herbal infusion used for the treatment of hay fever, asthma and eczema and to soothe heartburn and stomach ulcers and relieve nausea. It has a fruity taste when brewed. Send us an email for a sample package.

To make it more complicated, Rooibos also comes green. It is the same plant, but a product of a different process. Anyway, stay tuned -- I'm sure there will be more about it. See: for our current selection of Organic Rooibos.

I also wanted to provide an update on my rabbit. All was quiet in the garden this morning. The pumpkins and watermelon continue to grow; the peppers are hanging low; the tomatoes are slowly ripening, and the basil looks like it will go to seed soon. I've added a row of deer fencing behind the garden to keep the deer from eating the tops off the tomato plants. Bees are abundant. If there is a bee problem in the New York area, it has not yet reached our neck of the woods. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Green Tea, Lung Cancer, Rabbits & Compost

Small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), represents 15-20 percent of all lung cancer cases, and is fatal within five years in more than 85 percent of the patients who develop it. The disease typically becomes resistant to drug therapies, and is particularly insidious and difficult to treat.
That’s the bad news. The better news is that the active ingredient in green tea appears to arrest the disease’s progress at the cellular level. We've reported the studies before and posted links to relevant articles. This article is in the new issue of "Cancer News" and rather than republish it, we offer the following link:

Now I digress. A rabbit has found its way into my vegetable garden. I noticed the tops eaten off my carrots, my peppers peppered with chewmarks, and my low hanging tomato branches nibbled. I have looked for the opening in my fencing, but I fear the rabbit is burrowing its way in. I have only seen it once or twice, but I believe it has taken up residence. I don't mind sharing within reason, and would not consider harming the rabbit. Any ideas on how to minimize my garden losses would be appreciated.

By the way, my wife and I make several pots of loose leaf tea every day and add the spent leaves to our compost pile. The plants seem to really thrive with our tea enhanced compost.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

90degree August Day

I'm sitting on my back porch enjoying a nice glass of iced oolong (my favorite iced tea) and thinking about the tea business. For the first time ever our sales of herbal blends and Rooibos have surpassed our tea sales in a given month. Maybe this is a summer phenomena, maybe it is a the beginning of a trend. Our best seller this month was our Organic Green Rooibos which most customers buy by the pound. Our next best was our Different Drummer herbal blend. If you want a sample of either of these, let us know. We'll get one out to you in the return post.

Anyway, I'll continue to watch and report trends as I see them. Thank you for your support. And so it goes.