www.ediblemontereybay.com 9 Steiner creates her herbal infusions with an acute awareness of the health benefits of each herb, but flavor is a major factor. “Once I’ve matched up the medicinal properties, I try to make blends that are balanced yet complex,” Steiner says over a smooth and energizing pot of her adaptogenic brew, Morning Cup. “Like wine, that relationship of balance and complexity is what makes something really interesting.” Steiner’s Limón Lemon Citron is a satisfying and surprisingly balanced brew in which the herbaceous lemongrass and lemon thyme are complemented by the sweetness of lemon verbena and the bitterness of lemon balm and lemon zest. Raspberry leaf and monarda, a member of the mint family, round out the palette. With so much feedback about people’s sleep troubles, Steiner created her best seller, a salubrious brew called Good Good Night. is blend promotes a restful sleep with tulsi, lavender flowers, wild lettuce and, acting as a calming sedative, California poppy. Steiner also loves staying in one herbal family, as with her Mostly Mint blend, which includes four different kinds of mint and shows consumers the range of a common ingredient. No matter the blend, customers can know that unlike the products of some big commercial tea companies, Steiner’s contain no additives. e ingredients are not only pure and local, but they have been estate grown according to organic methods and hand-harvested and hand-packed in the form of whole leaves as much as possible, thereby limiting oxidation. And they’re never older than the last harvest season. is attention to freshness means that before the annual harvest season ramps up in May, visitors at Steiner’s farmers’ market booths in Monterey, Oakland and Palo Alto (and customers who order online) may find some of her popular teas are sold out. But come summer, her inventory rises again. “e farmers’ market is the perfect place for this,” Steiner says. “Once people approach you as a farmer, there’s less expectation that you’re going to have everything all of the time. ey understand that you’re tied to the climate, the season, your land. And they understand that, as a result, they’re getting a product that is much more vibrant and fresh.” Steiner works mostly on her own with the invaluable help of WWOOFers whom she hosts for much of the year. Given the laborintensive nature of her product, she’s happy for her company to maintain its intimate scale. “is is a luxury for me,” Steiner says thoughtfully, reflecting on the journey from seeding to steeping. “I can walk from my garden to the market. I can pour someone tea and say that it was just harvested that week. I can say this is mine.” San Benito Tea Co. 831.638.4843 • email@example.com • www.sanbenitotea.com Rosie Parker, a native New Englander, likes to complain of missing home while living the Santa Cruz highlife—surfing, hiking, writing and working for a delicious craft brewery.
edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016
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