Few people take the time to truly consider the journey tea takes from farm to cup. At English Tea Shop, we want to change this! We pride ourselves on building extremely close and long-lasting relationships with our organic farmers, without whom our company simply wouldn’t exist. To help celebrate the amazing work our farmers do each and every day, we wanted to give you a peak behind the scenes, and to get to know one of our farmers a little better. This month we meet Saman Kumara from Beliatta, a small village in southern Sri Lanka.
"Since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated by nature. When I started farming, I had no idea that organic tea would surge in popularity across the world, but I grew my crops using natural fertilizers because I believed it was the right thing to do. With a degree in Agriculture, I could have gone to work for a big company, but I wanted instead to start my own farm.
My farm has gone from strength to strength over recent years, and particularly since I started supplying organic herbs such as Lemongrass, Turmeric, Ginger, Soursop, Lemon, Pepper to English Tea Shop in 2012.
While running an organic farm is incredibly rewarding, it can be challenging and often involves more tender loving care than other methods. Working with English Tea Shop has been a great experience. Not only do they pay us a premium price, they also guarantee order levels helping my community to flourish. Not only that, they constantly visit our farm and advise us on various organic farming techniques.
The impact on the community too has been big. After visiting us, and analysing our needs, English Tea Shop realised we face a huge challenge during the dry seasons of January to April and July to August. So, they provided us with tube wells and water pumps which would benefit 25 farmer families, and helped us to implement a complex irrigation system worth LKR 7 million (approximately £34,000) which enabled us to farm in the dry season.
With demand for my organic herbs rising, the future is looking really bright. To help maximise my harvest, I want to create a compost preparation centre. I’m also keen to work towards making my farm into a natural habitat where we can relive the practices of our ancestors which I thoroughly believe is the only way that we can fight against the global climate changes."