São Miguel Island: Gorreana tea plantation
Let us begin with a very unusual traffic jam. If it wasn’t for local drivers we would had spent an hour driving behind the cows. There was maybe 200 of them walking on this road. They were not in a hurry.
This is what I love about the Azores: tourists are not the most important. They have to realize that and adjust to the rhythm of the island’s everyday life even if it means slowing down, waiting and then driving on the road covered in cow’s manure. We could smell this adventure all day long. I hope our car rental company will not charge us extra for car wash. Love it!!!!
And then this:
The Gorreana estate was founded in 1883 and is now one of the last of several estates that once thrived on São Miguel; 50 ha remain, producing 30 tonnes of tea annually. The first plants were introduced in 1874, grown from seeds brought directly from China, later also from India. Tea plants have thrived so well in the Azores that an especially aromatic variety has developed.
The leaves, or rather the young shoot tips, are harvested between March and October by a simple machine operated by three of four men; previously they were hand-plucked by women and girls. (David Sayers, Azores)
The leaves are then processed in old but beautifully engineered machines:
This machine puts the tea into tea bags:
Finally these women put the bags into boxes:
I would like to end this post with some beautiful views of the northern coast of Sao Miguel: