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It has been a long day.  A lot of it filled with harrowing turns on twisted and turning roads.  My stomach was in my throat more than once.  But I stuck it through and made the first stop at Thurbo estate.

Now I have been drinking teas from Thurbo for years and carry them off and on in my stores. But it’s quite something different when you stand in the garden amongst the rows and rows and rows of tea bushes and take in the magnificence.

The clouds were heavy and we spent most of the day amongst them. And by amongst them, I mean that we were high enough that it felt like the clouds had enveloped us. I tell you this, because it’s part of the magic you feel in these gardens. Something greater than you is working here and as the clouds wrap around you, you are fully aware that there is truly something greater.

The teas were tasted, some were purchased and we continued our trip to Sungmi.  We were greeted by Mr Jha, the Superintendent of the estate.  I tell you his name because the conversation we shared with him and the love for what he does was inspiring.  Some people choose jobs for money, security or status. Others end up in jobs out of pure passion and love. The estate managers I have met so far, all care deeply for their product, their land and their workers. Thats such an important message I think we need to understand.  Mr Rai, the Superintendent manager at Thurbo estate, talked about working with his managers in understanding the environment before choosing to treat his plants against pests.

The people I have met so far are true caretakers of the land. Not just of their tea, but of the land and the environment they are in.

Mr Jha spoke of a love for Darjeeling that keeps him working all the time. And working not as work, but working because he loves and thrives on producing an excellent product. He also spoke about ethical business and workers – more on that tomorrow as I have so much to say on the subject.

I know that we live in a world where we simply do not trust big companies anymore.  We operate on the assumption that they are up to no good and need to be monitored and watched at all times.  I can report to you and stand behind this fully with my reputation, that the planters in the gardens, the superintendents, the managers and the owners operate as a family  they feel an immense obligation to the product they produce, the land they are responsible for as well as eachother.  They operate from a sense of deep commitment. Not because they are making millions in what they do. Not because they have fame or fortune, but because they have profound pride.