As part of their mission the Harney Family has dedicated themselves to educating people about tea, so their third annual Tea Fest included many opportunities to taste, blend and see tea being processed for deliveries throughout the country.
There is a cafe and tasting room in the town of Millerton, but I headed straight to the processing factory just a couple miles outside town to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Tours, blending class, tastings and more!
Tea, treats and accoutrements were in the large tents around the grounds of the factory.
Small groups were given the opportunity to use the natural and artificial flavors and blend an original tea for themselves. This flavorings storage area has a delightful aroma along with a dizzying array of boxes, cannisters, jars, bottles and barrels of flavor elements.
Our Mr. Harney has been working in the company since he was seventeen, so he's had an opportunity to watch the facility grow from a garage to a 90,000 square foot facility.
310 packets every minute - this is the boxing end of a kind of a fascinating Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory type machine. They all sort of look the same, however there are about 15 different production lines going all the time to fulfill orders not only from retail customers, but food service organizations of all stripes. I was especially glad to hear that the automation of many aspects of the production lines allows the Harneys to pay their workers fairly good wages and keep up with the competition.
The Tea Fest is something I'd recommend for anyone who likes Harney's Tea. Millerton is just south of Hillsdale along rt. 22, so even if you miss Tea Fest, you can visit the tasting room in town.
The website has details of the festival and also the tasting rooms: Millerton and SoHo Tasting Rooms: https://www.harney.com/harney-tasting-rooms/