Grower: The Kinezuka Family (NaturaliTea)
Teamaker: The Kinezuka Family
Location: Nakayama Village near Fujieda City - Shizuoka, Japan
Elevation: 350m (1150ft)
Cultivation: All-natural (Organic with no certification)
Signature Tea: Midori Sencha
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Toshiaki with his wife Kazue and their three children Ayumi, Tamiko and Kazuki run a small, 2 hectare, completely organic tea farm in Shizuoka, Japan. Their fields are located in Nakayama Village, up in the mountains behind the city of Fujieda. They are about 200km southeast of Tokyo. The Kinezuka Family is considered one of Japan's pioneers for all-natural tea farming.
They produce various types of teas throughout the year, from fresh sencha (steamed green tea) in the spring, to houjicha (roasted green tea) in the autumn. During the winter when the tea plants are dormant, the family shifts focus to their mikan (tangerine) trees that fruit during the cold season.
Toshiaki Kinezuka started farming with all-natural methods back in 1976, so the farm has been grown with organic practices for 38 years. This is a great achievement in the midst of Japan's heavy chemical use in the tea industry. His daughter, Ayumi, initially emigrated to the United States, but returned to take over the family farm and to keep Japanese tea production alive. She works with her brother, Kazuki, on the farms, while her sister Tamiko and mother Kazue take care of quality control for the finished tea and logistics for shipping.
Ayumi has traveled to Sri Lanka to study tea agriculture, and also the production of black tea. In addition to their traditional Japanese teas, the family has applied Ayumi's knowledge to make Japanese black tea, a very rare tea.
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