HERON’S MEADOW WANTS TO MAKE THE FREE STATE A TEA STATE


Some chamomile with those crab cakes? Maybe not. Yet. But if the folks at Heron’s Meadow Farm in Woodbine have their way, Maryland may soon be as famed for its tea as it is for crustaceans. Since sowing its first 50 plants in 2014, the first-of-its-kind Howard County operation has been working brewing a Free State tea trade.

BLTeas sells a variety of loose teas from around the world.

BLTeas sells a variety of loose teas from around the world. »

Owners Lori and Bob Baker love both tea and a good challenge, explains Lori. “We like to take the road less traveled and do things that are unique.”

Those things include committing to organic farming techniques while also searching for tea varietals hardy enough to withstand the region’s unpredictable weather. They found a strain with origins in Sochi, Russia. They’re also sprouting seeds from a Nepalese variety indoors, hoping to move it to the fields by 2020.

The goal, says Lori, a former electrical engineer, is for the varieties to cross-pollinate and generate seeds. “We hope this will produce plants that thrive in spite of Maryland winters,” she says.

The farm offered its first small batch of homegrown green tea last season. “It sold out immediately,” reports Lori. While it waits for more, Heron’s Meadow onsite retail shop, BLTeas (named for Bob and Lori), sells loose teas from around the world in flavors ranging from vanilla rooibos to blackberry jasmine.

Even if tea is not your cup of you-know-what, an afternoon at Heron’s Meadow is well spent. Along with strolling through herb gardens, says Lori, visitors can visit the store to browse the teas and stoneware pottery that Lori makes herself. There’s also a patio “where you can sit and relax and watch the wildlife.”

Foxes, deer, eagles and oolong? Sounds heavenly.

For more information, visit blteas.com –Holly Smith

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