Businessman James K. Thomas grows around 2,000 tea plants in an half acre garden
While the talk of tea plantations generally conjures up images of colonial estates on the undulating hills of Munnar, the evergreen plant, with its scented flowers and delicious leaves, is now lending charm to the precincts of a home in Kottayam.
An half acre garden, comprising about 2,000 tea plants, is nurtured by James K. Thomas, a businessman settled at Chengalam East, Pallikathodu grama panchayat. Transplanted from a tea plantation in Wagamon, these plants have survived at least four summers and are flourishing with the rain.
Mr.Thomas, who had been staying at NCR Faridabad for long, decided to plant the tea saplings during a visit to Munnar.
“The view of tea bushes washing green the gentle slopes and miles of plain land was so appealing. That was when I decided to replace the usual landscaping plan for my newly built home with a thriving tea garden,” he says.
The tea saplings, collected through a planter in Wagamon, were planted on its front yard, which gently slopes down to the road. Every bush in the garden is tended to by the family of Mr.Thomas, which comprises of wife Mercy and daughters Juvi and Jewel.
These plants grow on organic manure while sprinklers have been deployed to keep the bushes wet throughout the night during the summer.
The plucking of leaves began about one-and-a-half years later and the yield now stands around four kg of tea powder every month. Having learned the basics of tea powder making through visits to tea factories in Munnar, the family has begun the processing of tea leaves on their own using a simple mixer grinder and a microwave oven.
The handmade tea from the garden is now sold through local market collectives and has become the toast of tea connoisseurs locally .
“It may not be the perfectly packed like branded tea powder coming out of a tea manufacturer, but, at least, we are able to enjoy a fine cup of tea that we can proudly say we grew ourselves,” adds Mr.Thomas
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