“Organic farming” is also one of the tea growing methods. What is organic farming by the way? In fact, a product needs to meet strict standards to state “organic.” This article gives you a detailed explanation of organic farming.
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a type of agriculture that “avoids chemically synthesized compost and agrochemicals, employs no genetic engineering techniques, and reduces environmental load from agricultural production to the minimum.”
Agrochemical-free farming is not exactly the same as organic farming because of different provisions. Organic farming has strict standards on soil preparation, supply sources, etc., not only the presence or absence of agrochemical inputs.
JAS certification is to prove that an agricultural product or processed food meets the standards of organic farming. Only the products that have passed an examination by a registered certifying organization are allowed to state “organic” in accordance with JAS Law, established by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The JAS mark must be put on a product with the name of the certifying organization and the certification number.
Organic Farming of Tea
Organic tea must be picked from a place that has not used agrochemicals, chemical fertilizers, and chemical ameliorants at least three years, and where the soil has been prepared with compost and other organic materials.
For fertilizers, only the organic fertilizers that meet the standards are allowed. In case the farmers engaged in organic farming need fertilizers, they mainly use homemade organic fermented ones. During cultivation, they grow tea leaves carefully by reaping them at an appropriate time to control pests and diseases.
Features of Organic Tea
Grown in an almost wild environment, organic tea fully provides a natural tea leaf flavor. The aroma is strong, but bitterness and astringency are moderate. You can enjoy a favorable rich flavor and a refreshing aftertaste.
When usual tea leaves are brewed in hot or cold water, agrochemicals also melt into the liquid. Even though the amount is safe to our body, there are concerns about consuming agrochemicals for many years. However, in the case of organic tea leaves, even chemical sensitivity sufferers can drink the tea with no worries. In addition, agrochemical-free cultivation is eco-friendly. It does not have harmful effects on the ecosystem.
At the beginning of transition to organic farming, products can be damaged easily by pests and diseases, which leads to unstable yields. Also, organic fertilizers are hard to use. Their components are unsteady compared with chemical ones, so the conditions of the soil and products need constant care to control fertilizers. Bad weather leads to poor harvests and tea trees are susceptible to pests and diseases. Shipment volume is hard to be stabilized. Without knowledge, techniques, and years of soil stabilization, it is difficult to stabilize yields by organic farming.
Another disadvantage is that because herbicides are not used, weeds growing between the rows must be removed throughout the year, increasing the workload for farmers.