Just because tea is grown in other parts of the world doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to keep it as local as possible. You aren’t going to find local tea leaves here in Indiana, but certain companies like Kei Tea take those worldly leaves and blend them with locally grown herbs to create fresh “local” teas.
Are there any herbs in particular that grow well in this area?
It’s possible to grow nearly any type of herb in Indiana if you make use of indoor space in the winter. However, our favorite herbs to grow outdoors are lemon grass, lemon balm, chamomile, any type of mint, lavender and of course, catnip. People are often surprised we use catnip in some of our teas but it actually was the original plant used in Egypt for tea and has a mild sedative quality for humans (unlike its effect on cats).
Do you use any other local ingredients other than herbs — such as flowers, seeds, etc.?
Many of our teas use seeds such as fennel, fenugreek, and milk thistle. The seeds from these plants have great health benefits. Fenugreek is reported to help with blood sugar regulation, and milk thistle is good for cleansing your liver.
Any special growing techniques that you use?
We try to grow everything organically and think plants grow better when we harvest seeds from our best specimens – that way we know we have a plant that likes to grow in a particular area. Many herbs regrow annually and so we just tuck them in with a little straw in the fall and uncover them when the time is right in the spring.