This year in honor of Piper and Leaf’s 10th anniversary we are sharing memories from 2013, the year it all started.
In the spring of 2013, Piper and Leaf was a concept that was still brewing and about to launch. Our first day of business was going to be the first Greene Street Market in May of that year, so in April we were scrambling to perfect our booth and offerings. One of the things that that we did the hard way that year was try to grow many of the ingredients ourselves.
Now you may say wait, doesn’t Piper and Leaf grow their own local fruits and herbs? Well, no is the short answer. But since 2013 that has been a question people ask. And we’ll get to why we don’t in a moment. But in 2013 we were hard at work tilling, planting, and tending fruits and herbs that were to be part of the framework of our original blends.
The garden was a beautiful spot down the road from the big yellow house where Piper and Leaf (first known as Samovar Gardens) was born. Our dear friends had moved into a little yellow house with a huge garden further down the country road, and it was there and with them that we tended the garden and housed our first batch of chickens. Our friend was a horticulturist and Caleb had many years' experience in landscaping, and had been gardening since he was a child, so it was a great team.
Good times and better memories grew in that garden, but as we started going to markets and building relationships with amazing farmers that summer, we learned something. One of the reasons we had wanted to start Piper and Leaf was to support local farmers, but if we were growing everything ourselves, we really weren’t doing that. And several of the farmers were already growing many of the fruits and herbs we needed.
By our second year of business we had already outgrown the produce of our garden because of the growing demand for our blends, and we were faced with having to start a farm ourselves if we wanted to keep up. It was at that point that we decided to commit going forward to work with these great farmers who were willing and excited to grow what we need. From the start we committed to give them fair market prices. And we also all realized another benefit for them and us was that we can purchase the fruits that aren’t “pretty enough” for market, or the excess they can’t find buyers for, or even fruit that is so at the peak of ripeness it can no longer travel to market without being bruised. Clearly these partnerships were beneficial for all and became the backbone of our locally infused blends!
Fun fact: local ingredients are present in all our blends, and account for up to 60% of the total makeup in some of the varieties! Try our Sweetie Pie Chai made up of over 50% local sweet potatoes and our Strawberry Shinding made with over 60% local strawberries and apples!
Interested in hearing more about how we got started? Check out our story!