It’s been a long time since I rattled on about one of my farm crushes (14 months to be exact). I guess it takes a big business and an even bigger crush to pull me back into my rotation of sharing the farm relationships that most impress and captivate me.
Tony DiMaggio of Sacred Blossom Farm did just that. I heard about his tea from a friend and had to try it. Tony instantly captivated me with his gorgeous product. He impressed me with his vision for creating local teas that are not only beautiful (though they are without question the most beautiful teas I’ve ever had the pleasure to display in my home), but also grown with reverence and integrity.
Sacred Blossom Farm is located in the beautiful bluffs of Western Wisconsin between the villages of Gilmanton and Lookout. It is an herb farm specializing in selling living herbal teas. Tony only has one year under his belt growing herbs at Sacred Blossom, but his experience is diverse.
“I fell into farming by accident – a summer job turned career,” he tells. “I have been farming for 9 years. I love working outside, working with living things and producing something of real value. For six years, I apprenticed under a lifelong farmer who taught me to “farm for health”. [Then], I had this idea. To start a farm-grown herbal tea business, so I went out and started working on the herb farms in Southern Oregon.”
The experience in Oregon was educational to say the least. He watched large-scale tea farms produce in monocultures (one crop per field) “surrounded by dead soil.” He learned a lot on these farms but didn’t feel these practices made for very good medicine. He came to Wisconsin and started doing something different.
“We grow our herbs close together, in mixed polycultures, so their roots intermingle in living soil. It’s how medicinal herbs grow in nature. Closeness and companionship, along with competition and struggle, leads to vitality and potency,” his website reads. And because he grows herbs this way, creating stronger flavors, there’s no need for additives or flavorings.
“I harvest by hand,” he shares. “[There are] no brown leaves, no weeds. I dry at an ideal temperatures to maintain plant quality. It’s not a race. And then I process herbs on a human scale. This allows me to remove stems (instead of grinding them in with the herbs) and maintain that beautiful larger particle size.”
It is, essentially, small batch tea making and you can taste that care in every cup. I love what Tony’s doing. I love his approach to farming, soil management and small scale production. I love his vision. More than anything, I love the beauty of his product.
Over the past few months, tea has become a sort of indulgence for me. An excuse to ignore the world and take 10 minutes just for myself. Using his tea takes this to the next level. It’s a whole leaf tea so it takes a little longer. You have to boil water, let it steep for 7-10 minutes and then strain it. The process is a kind of meditation and when you strain out the beautiful flowers, there is something bright and summery you are left with in the heart of winter.
So just like that, thanks to Tony, Farm Crush Friday is back and I’ve got a whole line up of monthly farms, farmers and beautiful relationships that I can’t wait to tell you about! I hope you enjoy diving a little deeper into my fantastic farming world.
And if you are intrigued by Tony’s product, I’ve got news for you! You can win a packet of his Moon blend by spreading the good word about his farm and Kickstarter project. When I wrote this post yesterday, he still had $1075 to go to reach his goal of $12,000 by Sunday, February 26th!
You can help this farmer take the next step in his business by promoting his Kickstarter! Share this link on Facebook with a few words about why you’re excited to try Tony’s tea and then comment below to be entered to win a 9-serving packet of Sacred Blossom Moon Blend living tea.
Lots of farming love from the MOSES organic farming conference,
I was compensated with sample packets of tea to do this post, but it has no bearing over my absolute full-hearted endorsement of this product. I’ve been wishing for something like this to come on the market for many years. I feel lucky to have found Tony and his living teas.