His Business Is Farm to Cup | News

The delicate white blooms on Lee Gulley’s camellia plants are just a bonus. The real treasure is the new growth shoots at the top of his ornamental evergreens.

“It’s the tip and the top two leaves, that’s what you pick,” said Gulley, who is building a fledgling farm-to-cup tea leaf enterprise. He’s cultivated about 500 plants on his Lobelia property so far.

Growing tea wasn’t on his radar a few years back when he visited the Fayetteville Camellia Festival. But during the event, his family participated in a Japanese tea ceremony and Gulley was smitten.

Black tea, green tea, oolong tea and white tea are considered the four true teas. What’s remarkable is they’re all produced from the same species, the common tea plant or Camellia sinensis.

“I had always liked tea and they had a few tea plants for…

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