When you head out towards Empire from Traverse City on M-72, about 8 miles out you pass Michigan’s only tea farm, Light of Day Organics. Two things that make this farm unique is that it grows honest to goodness real tea, and the farm is certified biodynamic.
Founder Angela Macke started the business in 2003. Angela’s tea products are Certified Organic and the majority are grown right on her certified Demeter BIODYNAMIC® farm under the guidelines of the National Organic Program, and Demeter U.S.
She grows a huge variety of exceptionally high-quality botanicals and hand-harvests and dries them in her licensed commercial farm kitchen, and then packages them onsite with great care.
Angela wants everyone to know that, yes, she really does grow actual tea plants! Many people assume that one cannot grow tea in this cold climate but Angela has perfected her growing technique with the strategic use of hoop houses so that she is able to harvest 80 pounds of actual tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) per each large hoop house. One pound of tea is comprised of about 70,000 tea leaves, all of which Angela harvests by hand!
Tea thrives in cool, shaded environments, hence the hoop houses. Angela devises additional layers of protection within the hoop houses to protect them from the extremes of Michigan winters.
Angela’s farm store has been closed since March due the pandemic. She has been a one-woman operation all summer, tending the hoop houses and gardens entirely by herself. But she accepts orders for local pick up and you can also order products through her website. And of course, Oryana carries her loose leaf teas in bulk. Although sales are down drastically, she has been taking advantage of this down time by doing some interior work, such as adding a washer and dryer to the store building. Until you can visit her farm, hopefully next year, check out the Light of Day website.