Farm to Table Fresh
I was invited to a food lover and a chef’s wedding. I love food, and have been known to spend hours in a kitchen only to have my creations gobbled up in minutes. But I am not a chef, not even close! I still have mishaps and misadventures in the kitchen and often my attempts are not photo worthy. However, I knew the food at this wedding would be photo worthy and delicious. And yes, the food was gobbled up in minutes!
The wedding was conducted outdoors at a farm that incorporates organic practices. The day was gloriously warm, stretching to hot. There was a gentle breeze lightly stirring the air. The fields, produce and flowers looked and smelled incredibly fresh. The aroma of the basil plants, tomato plants and eucalyptus wafted through the air on the faint early autumn breeze. In a clearing in the field, chairs were placed facing a wooden arbor. Fall flowers that were picked from the farm gardens hung on the top of the arbor. It was a serene, and peaceful location for a wedding ceremony.
The reception was set up under the tall trees and the cafe lights at an outdoor music venue. The decor included Autumn colored napkins and flowers. The food had an autumnal look with roasted vegetables in brown, green and yellow hues. The servers supplied overflowing platters of food to each table, to be served family style. The food was locally sourced from friends who were in the food industry. Pasta was made fresh for the wedding reception from the happy couple’s friend who owned a pasta company. The pig was raised responsibly and humanely on a local herdsman’s property. Produce and flowers were sourced from the same farm that hosted the wedding ceremony.
The wedding was outdoors in the fresh country air. The flowers at the reception were straight from the farm and as fresh as a Fall day. The food was locally gathered the day before the wedding reception and was the epitome of farm fresh. The key word is “Fresh”. Which brings me to my tea points.
I frequently travel with tea bags if I know I won’t have access to, or unable to bring a teapot to steep loose leaf tea. Knowing that the wedding and reception would be outside, I paired the occasions and locations with a green tea. I packed several green tea bags in a small cooler in order to keep the tea bags fresh. I did not want the tea bags to be exposed to heat during my travels. The heat could possibly bake the tea bags and may even create moisture inside the tea bag wrapper during the trip to the wedding city. Utilizing the cooler insured the tea bags remained cool during travel.
I was a guest in a hotel that had a Keurig machine, no teapot, refrigerator, or microwave in the room. The Keurig hot beverage machine posed several problems for my much needed cup of tea. Keurig machines will heat water close to boiling, well above the recommended temperature for steeping green tea (between 160 - 175 Fahrenheit). In addition, the coffee aroma in the Keurig K-cup holder was intense. I was concerned that the coffee residue in the K-cup holder could adulterate the water, thus altering the flavor of the green tea. The solution was to steep the tea in the sun, using my travel mug. I know this was not ideal. I know I have explained the possible perils of creating sun tea in previous blogs. Tea is an organic matter and left to steep in the sun for hours could potentially become a petri dish scenario. Unwanted microbes could possibly develop in the sun tea. I know I have encouraged proper tea brewing procedures. But… Desperate times called for desperate measures. I really would have liked a cup of tea before all the wedding festivities commenced. I had no access to fresh hot water to steep tea, or a refrigerator to cold steep a mug of tea for several hours. I decided to take a calculated risk and make the pseudo sun tea. I placed the green tea bag in the room temperature water, then placed the travel mug on the hotel room windowsill. The tea steeped for roughly two hours while I wrapped presents, signed cards, coordinated locations at the farm for family to meet, and got ready for the wedding and reception. The tea was creamy, slightly vegetal, extremely weak tasting and lukewarm. My calculated risk paid off though. It was a cup of tea! Besides, I reasoned, the sun tea probably did not have much, if any, unwanted microbial matter from a quick sun brew in lukewarm water.
Trying to keep tea fresh and life real while on the go,
About The Author
Leslie Sundberg is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist, a World Tea Academy Apprentice Tea Sommelier, a Specialty Tea Institute Level IV trained Tea Specialist, and a Tea and Business Etiquette Specialist. On any given day, Leslie can be found teaching, speaking or sharing in the joys of a cup of tea. No matter what Leslie is doing or where she is, one thing remains constant: 4:00 in the afternoon is tea time!