Sun Tea from Oliver Farms

This week’s food inspiration comes to you directly from the sun!

steeping sun tea

steeping sun tea

How could anyone not love Sun Tea? It’s honest to God the easiest way to make iced tea during the spring/summer months, and when you have the option of using local tea (like I do using Oliver Farm tea) it makes it even nicer.

So a quick word about Oliver Farms (according to the owners themselves):

Oliver Farm sits on 35 acres backing onto the French River which runs into the village of Tatamagouche. The farm was once a much larger mixed operation owned by Bessy Oliver, it then changed hands a few times and farming fell by the wayside until October 2009 when during a trip to the North shore of Nova Scotia, we jumped at the opportunity to buy it. Crikey, are we nuts?

In my mind, it is pretty crazy to move from the UK to buy and operate an organic flower farm on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, and yet, Fay and Jamie have managed to do it for 3 years now! If that’s not a success story, I don’t know what is. Oliver Farms sells their organic flowers wholesale to florists and regular folk, they’ve got a deal going with the Waldegrave Farms CSA for this year to have their flowers included in customer’s orders for a nominal fee, they sell their products on Etsy as well as at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market and the Tatamagouche Farmers’ Market!

The only tea I’ve bought from Oliver Farm so far is their High Chai. Personally, I am very picky about my chai–I like it to be layered in flavour, and sometimes I like a good kick of hot spice to it as well. The only chai I’ve found that satisfies my longings 100% of the time is Tazo Chai Tea. (I know that’s sad, but it’s true. However, I’ve checked the box to see whether they’ve hooked me with “natural flavouring” and they haven’t–everything that’s listed on the ingredients list is actually organic, easily-pronounceable ingredients. So maybe they just have a good blend?)

That being said, Oliver Farm’s High Chai is a good second. I only bought a tiny tin of it at the farmers’ market because I wasn’t sure I’d like it enough to want to use it again, and it was satisfying. I found I really had to mix it up in order to get the ground spices that had sunk to the bottom of the tin into my tea strainer, and that was a little annoying (but really, tea bags spoil us, so it’s not that bad to work for my tea!). The High Chai didn’t have that kick that I enjoy so much from the Tazo Chai, but it wasn’t disgusting like Twinning’s Chai is (to my taste), nor did it take absolutely forever to steep enough to have flavour like David’s Tea chai.

So today, I’m making Oliver Farm High Chai Sun Tea. Like I said, it’s really simple. All you need to have is a clean, clear jug or jar (I’m using an old honey jar because my regular sun tea jug is currently full of regular iced tea.), access to sweetener of some sort (I use sugar because I find it blends in better with the sun tea, although I have tried honey), water, and tea of your choice. Add your sweetener to the jar first, pop in your tea bag (or tea strainer full of tea–even if I’m making a jug of sun tea, I only use one serving of tea), pour cold water over it, cover your jar so the bugs won’t get in it and set this project outside in direct sunlight somewhere for a few hours.

Oliver Farm High Chai sun tea steeping on my porch

Oliver Farm High Chai sun tea steeping on my porch

Now I know you want to drink your iced tea now, but honestly, it’s worth the wait. It’s amazing what the power of the sun can do to make tea! If you’ve got some time, check in with your tea just to see how it’s steeping through the day–I always love to watch the swirls of colour leak into the water.

Once it’s done, take the tea bag out, cover the jar with a lid and shake the jar to blend the sweetener into the drink. You’ll probably have to do this every time you drink it, but if you blend it now, it’ll be easier later. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours to let it cool down, and there you have it! Sun Tea!

High Chai sun tea two hours later...it should be quite dark by now, but for some reason it's not. I added more tea to the strainer, just in case.

High Chai sun tea two hours later…it should be quite dark by now, but for some reason it’s not. I added more tea to the strainer, just in case.

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