The principle crop of the Estate is tea and the Estate is proud of its history as
one of the pioneers of tea production in the region. The original 30ha of tea planted
by Wilmot Barrett, (son in law of Countess Stead) in 1935 are still in production.
To this the Estate has added another 9ha of tea and is still expanding. It takes
four to five years for the tea once planted to come into production. The tea would
normally grow to a tree, but the growth is stunted by regular pruning to form a plucking
table approximately 90cm from the ground. The tea is plucked by hand by a team of
female and male “pluckers” who select and pluck only the young growing tip and top
two leaves. The tea leaves are loaded into a basket carried on their backs. At the
end of the day the tea collected by each plucker is weighed before being delivered
to the factory.
The tea has a flavour rich and smooth in taste rivaling any tea from Ceylon or India.
Arabica coffee has been re-introduced to the estate, this had been the principle
crop in the 1920s but was up rooted after the Wall Street crash to make room for
the tea. Coffee seedlings were brought from the Mount Elgon region of Uganda where
a recognised speciality coffee known as Bugisu Arabica is grown. The coffee is intercropped
with plantain (known as matooke) and grown under a diverse range of shade trees.
The coffee and matooke is grown organically being mulched with seed cake from the
oil production and additional nutrients fixed by use of cover crops.