Uji & Kagoshima, Japan
This past April our team took a trip to visit our partner farms in Japan for the first harvest of the year...and I wanted to share a bit of that experience with you.
We began in the lush southern region of Kagoshima, where forward-thinking farmers have transformed the landscape into the largest producer of organic tea in the country. The northern part of the region boasts beautiful wooded mountains, while to the south you'll find broad flat fields, palm trees, and a lot of sunshine - reminds me of southern California.
Our journey then brought us through Uji, the famed "Napa Valley" of matcha tea cultivation located centrally in Japan near the historic city of Kyoto. Family farms here stretch back countless generations, and the tea industry permeates nearly every aspect of life.
Visiting farmers and their families is one of the greatest privileges of our work. They are so warm and inviting and eager to share their passion for their craft. We were able to sit down with several of our partners for more in depth discussions, and we can't wait to share their stories a little later this year (stay tuned!)
The trip this year was extra special as our newest team member, Jules, got to experience the breathtaking fields and vibrant culture for the first time. Here's what she had to say:
"I never believed in love at first sight… that was until I saw my first matcha tea field in Kagoshima, Japan. I remember taking a moment to myself to walk through the rows of tea bushes as tears welled up in my eyes—I was in awe and couldn’t believe that my love, passion, and drive for sharing the wonders of matcha with my Instagram communities @matcha.sf @matcha.la @matcha.nyc opened doors and allowed me to experience this matcha wonderland with Marc and Will. I couldn’t help but cry because I was finally in the presence of the very tea leaves that I have spent the last four years creating a life around. I’m so grateful that I was able to share my first trip to Japan (and first trip out of the country!) with my Jade Leaf Matcha family. I’ll never forget how it felt to: pick my first tea leaf, share space with our matcha tea farmers, do karaoke with one of those tea farmers, get an inside look of the matcha production facilities (I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory... but for matcha), and the feeling of finally getting to cross 'Visit a matcha farm' off of my #matchabucketlist. This was hands down my highlight of 2019."
Life is about people, and we are so lucky to be surrounded by those who share a love for matcha, from those who make it, to those who enjoy it each and every day. Thank you for your trust in us.
From our family to yours, so matcha gratitude.
Marc St Raymond
Co-Founder, Jade Leaf Matcha