At the start of each year, I embark on an annual visit to our partners and friends around the globe. Along with taking part in cultures and traditions there, we discuss new and intriguing developments back at the headquarters in Millerton, NY. This year, I visited Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
I left chilly Seoul and made my way to Melbourne, Australia. Luckily, the terrible bushfires had not been through that area. There, I met up with Rhonda Thomson, our importer, who gave me a tour of Melbourne. In one store, I was able to see how our teas are replacing T2’s.
I also met with Andrew and Mary White, who manage four cafes in downtown Melbourne. We enjoyed some tea and champagne in the Royal St. Collins Tea Salon, located in the charming indoor arcade called St. Collins Lane.
Rhonda is an avid equestrian. In fact, she has her own horse park, which she named Harney Park. She gave me a tour. I kept an eye out for kangaroos too, but did not see any!
Later, I flew to New Zealand with Rhonda. We spent 3 days with Rhonda’s assistant Stefan seeing where Harney & Sons teas are sold throughout Auckland. It was a lot of fun! It's the summer season in NZ, so the days are long and sunny--a warm and welcoming change from the New England winter. Saltwater is always around the corner in Auckland. The Esplanade Hotel is a small Victorian hotel on Devonport beach facing the main city. We had lunch at the Chelsea Sugar Factory facing the city. Sweet! Then, Andrew gave me a tour of his Espresso workshop in Orakei, which had spectacular views overlooking the bay.
On the last day of the trip, I visited one of our oldest NZ customer's stores: Smith and Caughey. It’s always a joy to have devoted customers, such as Smith and Caughey, come up and say they have tried every tin that we offer. Another one ran to meet me before my flight back to the US!
The highlight was visiting the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, where next year’s America's Cup competition will be held. We plan to do a commemorative tagalong for that event!
As I’m back in Millerton at Harney Headquarters, reflecting on my trip with great friends, great views, and warmer days continues to warm me through this cold New England winter. I can’t wait to return!