By Amy Lenathen

As if running a farm, self-catering holiday accommodation and the popular Woodhouse Coffee Shop doesn’t keep Richard Lamb and his family busy enough, the entrepreneurial farmer from Kippen is turning his hand to growing his own tea.

Richard, along with his son Matthew, brought the project to life in April after picking up some inspiration from grower Tam O’Braan and Derek Walker, of The Wee Tea Company.

“Derek came to the coffee shop asking if we would sell his products,” said Matthew. “We asked how to grow it and it went from there.”

Five months on and The Stirling Tea Company is born, on track to marking its presence in local retailers and coffee shops. With customers including the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh already secured, business is looking good.

“The different teas are produced according to leaf type and degrees of processing,” said Richard. “We were thrilled to discover after a professional tasting that our silver needle tea offers a unique sweetness, which could be attributed to various factors including soil type and climate.”

Of course the Scottish weather can be somewhat temperamental, so their three poly tunnels have been vital in optimising growth of the plants; usually found relishing in the humid climates of India and China.

With 28 plantations now in Scotland, Richard and Matt have put their own stamp on the venture with the economy being at the forefront of their mind. They have made good use of recycled materials and renewable energy as a means of heating the poly tunnels in the colder months.

Soon they hope to add ‘tour guide’ to their already impressive list of skills, opening their doors to the public and giving an insight to their locally grown produce – I hear a complimentary cuppa will be waiting at the end!