Valley Bounty: Herbal Teas

When it comes to first-thing-in-the-morning caffeine intake, I have to admit that I am a staunch member of Team Coffee. For a number of reasons—some habitual and some simply chemical—I’m not especially interested in making significant changes to that particular morning routine. But as cold nights begin to settle in for the season, I do find myself wanting a warm cup of tea in the evening, but without the caffeine jump-start. Fortunately for me, there are a number of local farms offering herbal tea blends at farmers’ markets, farm stands, and local retailers.

Most herbal “teas” don’t actually contain any Camellia sinensis, the plant whose leaves are used to make green, black, and Oolong teas. They’re blends of other herbs that are steeped in water to make a tea-like drink. Herbal teas have been used in traditional medicine to treat ailments and promote the good health of bodily systems—there is a wealth of information online if you’re curious about which blends have been used for particular purposes, and farmers that specialize in herbs can help point you in the right direction if you visit them at the farmers’ market. I usually drink mine with a drop of lemon juice and a splash of honey.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)