Harvest Roots Ferments is proud to announce our partnership with Inari Tea to provide us, directly from growers, the highest quality possible tea, from farmers and families whose names we know. 

 "Four Seasons"  Oolong. Photo: Pete Halupka

"Four Seasons"  Oolong. Photo: Pete Halupka

One day we said, "Kombucha is made with tea, right? Why don't we source tea as similarly to our other ingredients as possible? " And then, Aaron Stair from Inari serendipitously called us.  

Lindsay Whiteaker of Harvest Roots sees Inari as the bridge between two worlds. This bridge, of sourcing tea at the highest level, can be a secondary focus when trying to keep up with the production and demand of kombucha in the U.S. market while competing with multi-national corporations prices. Tea of varying qualities is readily available, without deep relationships, or relationships at all. This isn't inherently negative, as it signals a greater absorption and interest in tea overall.

We aspire to balance financial realities of both company and customer, with the higher goals of sourcing and ethics. Therefore we ask, "Why isn't our kombucha sourcing the best quality tea, at the best prices for the farmers possible?" With our values of being "Founded in the Soil, Rooted in Community" we are elated to be taking this step towards having intimate, first name basis relationships with farmers of, literally, a foreign product.

 Film Still of field of Tongmuguan Smoked Bohea

Film Still of field of Tongmuguan Smoked Bohea

 

Though it is foreign, this is where Inari comes in. Inari is connecting growers, who have been growing tea for up to five generations with our first generation fermentation business in the Southeast region of the U.S.

Aaron Stair, of Inari, relates the growth of tea in the U.S. to that of craft coffee. Harvest Roots sees Inari on the forefront of educating consumers on not only what good tea tastes like, but why. It is in the soil, as their work with famed soil scientist Elaine Ingham illustrates. It's in the environment, the terroir. But, the work that Inari is doing to explore how not only to connect growers in the Asian marketplace with other markets, but also to build more tea farms across viable climates in the Southeastern U.S. as well as France, is what really captivates us. 

"After nearly two years of meetings and meals, I'm proud to be working with Harvest Roots Ferments on all the projects we have invested so much time into. I hope for nothing more but for Inari Tea to aid in the continuing joyful experiences of Harvest Roots customers," Stair writes. 

 Harvest Roots first Inari Tea sensory experiments. Photo: Pete Halupka

Harvest Roots first Inari Tea sensory experiments. Photo: Pete Halupka

This at once addresses the global marketplace, the validity of supporting farmers far from where we live because they are masters at their craft. But it also addresses the consumer interest, as well as sustainability aspect of building markets and growing crops closer to our homes, to minimize our carbon footprint, and create delicious foods.

"In the end, Harvest Root's kombucha arrives to us in a very utilitarian form, the shape of a fermented food, with a narrative that Inari feels is literally felt inside ourselves," Stair says.

 Unfurled and dried "Four Seasons" oolong. Photo: Pete Halupka

Unfurled and dried "Four Seasons" oolong. Photo: Pete Halupka

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