Northern Michigan is home to many unique and wonderful things. Cherries, lakes and dunes are just a few of things that have contributed to a thriving tourism scene, but did you know Northern Michigan is also home to the only Demeter Certified Biodynamic Tea Farm in North America?
Angela Macke started Light of Day Organics, a 75-acre certified Demeter Biodynamic farm in Leelanau County in 2004. Light of Day Organics not only produces some of the best tea you can find, but it is also a health and wellness destination which grows not only actual tea (Camellia sinensis), but a wide variety of herbs, flowers, fruits, and more.
What makes a farm a Biodynamic? Biodynamic Agriculture is a nearly century-old practice that goes way beyond organic farming. The main goal of Biodynamic agriculture is to give more back to the Earth than is being taken away (as opposed to organic farming which aims to leave no trace.) This practice can help improve air and soil quality in the ten-mile radius surrounding the Leelanau County farm. To give back to the Earth, very small amounts of herbs, mineral substances, and animal manures are applied to the compost pile and then to soil and plants to provide a natural fertilizer to improving soil and air quality, and help the plants better absorb Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, and create more humus in the soil, which holds moisture. Angela also highlights that in this type of agriculture, positive intention as well as positive thoughts contribute to fertility. If botanicalss are planted, harvested and processed with a positive intention, they will grow better, and the “proof in the pudding” has been evidenced by reviewing crop records and realizing that since incorporating this practice, their crop yields have improved by 30%.
The process of growing botanicals for loose leaf tea is a very labor intensive one and performed by only a small group of workers. Angela’s team is comprised of eight workers during the busiest season and four she employs year-round. Every single thing on the farm is planted, tended to, and picked by hand. To gather enough tea buds for one pound of tea takes four days and 70,000 individual tea buds. A highlight of Biodynamic farming is that it works with nature to yield the best possible results. Angela and her team follow naturally occurring rhythms in nature follow a Lunar calendar to know when the best time to plant, harvest and collect seed are.
Angela has a strong belief in homeopathic remedies which is one of the driving forces behind her passionate work. Many of her customers come to her looking for something to help ease their pain and often her teas do the trick! The most common issue addressed by Light of Day Organics is inflammation, which often occurs in the joints and connective tissues and can affect people of any age.
At The Riverside Inn, we’re happy to be one of Light of Day Organic’s first wholesale customers. We have proudly served Angela’s teas for over a decade and love sharing information about Angela’s Biodynamic farming practices with our customers. We offer a wide selection of Light of Day Organics teas and tisanes and enjoy preparing a cup of tea for our guests to enjoy in the morning with our continental breakfast, to accompany a meal, or to cap off the night. In addition to its outstanding flavor, it feels good to offer our guests something grown with such painstaking care that is good for the body and good for the Earth.