The Local Palate Newsletter
Sign up to recieve news, updates, recipes, cocktails and web exclusives about food culture in the south

Share this article via email


Save 72% off of newsstand price now!

Subscribe to The Local Palate
Shop Marketplace Savor the South Newsletter Tableaux Newsletter Shop the South Marketplace Newsletter Snapshot: Nashville Newsletter Snapshot: Atlanta Newsletter Snapshot: Charlotte Newsletter Snapshot: Austin Newsletter Subscribe Digital Edition Send a Gift Customer Service App Store Google Play

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

High Time for Tea

Photos by Allston McCrady
Photo by Allston McCrady

January is National Hot Tea Month. I don’t need that official pronouncement to go for something steamy, restorative, and soothing in the depth of winter. Gracing my kitchen cupboard are some bags of loose leaf lavender tea blends I picked up earlier this summer from Mountain Farm near Burnsville, North Carolina, on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest. I went there on a whim, following a maze of mountain roads, eager to see fields of purple in the late summer heat—a little taste of Provence here in the South.

Thank goodness for GPS, or I never would have found this place, down a curving dirt road called Copperhead Bend. Mountain Farm is a little slice of utopian bliss, dotted with rows of blueberries, lavender, and a coterie of dairy goats, all in the shadow of nearby Mount Mitchell whose summit pierced through a hovering cloud bank. An imperturbable farm dog slept at the entrance to the rustic gift shop: a rustic, one-room structure full of lavender products, fresh and aged goat cheeses, and recipe books for cooking with lavender. Outside, some Nubian goats sought respite in the shade, and a labyrinth of lavender bushes bloomed their last buds (alas, I had just missed the full explosion of color).

Feeling tranquil, my arms loaded with lavender tea blends, I left with a smile. And now, recovering from winter’s latest cold snap, I have channeled the warmth of late summer in a tea. Surely there’s no better way to survive January’s chill.

Mentioned in this post: