BioHorn wrote:Charleston is, or was, the nations only commercial tea plantation.
There are definitely some tea plantations in the states of Washington and Hawaii. Members here have posted links to vendors that sell tea from those plantations.
Please excuse the Wiki-copy/paste:
Tea was introduced in Hawaii in 1887 and was commercially grown until 1892. While it is not clear why the tea was eventually discontinued, historians believe higher wages compared to other prime tea growing areas in Asia and Africa were among the deciding factors. Lower production costs of tea's main rival, coffee, also helped prevent it from establishing a foothold.
In the 1960s Lipton and A&B formed a joint venture to investigate the possibility of growing tea commercially in Hawaii. Both companies decided not to open gardens on the Island, but rather to open gardens in Latin America.
In 2000 horticulturist Francis Zee found a strain of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, that can flourish in the tropical climate and volcanic soil of Hawaii. A joint study of commercially growing tea in Hawaii was started by University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
With the decline of Hawaii's sugar industry, tea cultivation is seen as a possible replacement crop. In 2003 Hawaii had an estimated 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land producing tea but by 2005 that number jumped to roughly 80 acres (320,000 m2). Tea production in Hawaii is expected to triple by 2008.
In 2004, the Hawaii Tea Society was formed from about 40 members, many of whom had started backyard tea farms to promote tea grown in Hawaii.
Hand-picked green, oolong, and black teas are also available from Sakuma Market Stand in Burlington. This farm has approximately 5 acres of tea in production as of 2010.