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Service With Smiles In Appalachia

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What an amazing week with amazing young adults and fellow advisors…I just got back from Man, West Virginia, where I spent a week helping work on a home that was an ASP project. The Appalachia Service Project has been a wonderful experience for me over the last eight summers.

This year, 220 of us got on buses or loaded into vans to make the drive down. We then split into three different ASP centers in different West Virginia locations. My group of 75 was assigned to Man. From there we break up into teams – two adult advisors and five high school youths. Our assignment was a trailer that had been worked on for the three weeks preceding our arrival. Our week had us finishing up some insulation under the trailer (only a little, thank heavens), installing underpinning around the home, re-siding a side of the home, and straightening out an exterior door that had been installed the week before.

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Planted a very special garden

Well I am delighted to say we accomplished our entire mission (something I don’t always get to do) plus added a garden at the end of the trailer as a little extra. The family was so appreciative and was out there every chance they could helping us. The young children on my team were just so proud to see what they had accomplished. Two of the girls on my team were there for the first time and were clearly so touched by the process (one said it was the best week of her life). Funny, how can sleeping in a classroom, eating cafeteria food, crawling under a trailer, working in brutally bright sun wearing jeans and heavy boots be the best week of your life? Well, that is the beauty of the week…I can say it actually is one of my best weeks of the year, every year!

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Getting ready to put insulation under the trailer

I think it is the spirit of the people who go down there – from the moment we wake up at 6:45 am till we close our eyes sometime after 11 pm, everyone is so kind and loving. Everyone smiles, laughs and just is so happy to be down there doing this work. Just think about it, we are taking young children from a very fortunate community to one that has many, many issues of poverty and health…and we have one mission, to help make a home a little bit safer, warmer and dryer. Pretty nice in my opinion…everyone just feels so good about what they are doing and that they are even fortunate enough to be able to help others. Yes, it is an amazing week with amazing people. I am of course glad to be home, but I still feel the glow all around me of one of the most loving weeks of the year!

Cindi Bigelow

 

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Bigelow Tea Loves Blueberry Month and Blueberry Muffin Day

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They pack a punch of flavor in the tiniest blue pod, and they are at their very tastiest this time of year … yes, we are talking about blueberries! Bigelow Tea loves blueberries and features that flavor in our Green Tea With Wild Blueberry & Acai and our Wild Blueberry With Acai herbal tea. Throughout the month of July for Blueberry Month (and tomorrow on July 11 for Blueberry Muffin Day) we will be celebrating these dynamo little bites of fruit.

Blueberries are one of only three fruits native to North America. And since we’re celebrating all things “made in the USA” this month, we have even more reason to cheer for the amazing blueberry! July is the perfect season to go to a local farm and pick your own blueberries; it doesn’t get any fresher than that! In fact, when we pick blueberries it’s something like the classic American children’s book “Blueberries for Sal”, by Robert McCloskey, “kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk … one for the pail, and one for us.”

After your outing you can make yourself a batch of America’s favorite muffins, the blueberry muffin, to celebrate the day! And we suggest pairing them with our Fabulous Melon And Blueberry Fruit Salad, made with Bigelow Tea. And of course, a blueberry repast wouldn’t be complete without some refreshing iced tea—maybe even Pomegranate Blueberry Iced Tea!

So this month, let blueberries provide you with a whole day of fun: fresh fruit, muffins and some wonderful flavored iced tea! A day centered around this petite little powerhouse pack of yum sounds pretty great to us! Enjoy!

Fabulous Melon and Blueberry Fruit Salad

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 Ingredients:

Bigelow Blueberry Acai Herb Tea Bags*
1/2 cup (125mL) water
4 tablespoons (60mL) lime juice
3 teaspoons (15mL) sugar
1 pint (500mL) blueberries*
1 cup (250mL) honeydew melon balls*
1 cup (250mL) cantaloupe melon balls*
1 cup (250mL) watermelon balls*
Mint leaves for garnish

Yield: Serves 4 – Prep Time: 10-15 minutes – Cook Time: 10 minutes.

*You can use any assortment of fresh fruits depending on what is in season.

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Instructions:

Add lime juice, water, sugar and Blueberry Acai Herb Tea Bags to a saucepan, simmer for 10 minutes to infuse flavor. Squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible then remove tea bags. Cool.

Add fruit to large attractive bowl, pour syrup over fruit and toss gently. Garnish with mint leaves.

Image by SirPecanGum via Flickr.com

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Bigelow Tea Bloggers Visit Charleston Tea Plantation

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All year long, Bigelow Tea proudly welcomes visitors to our Charleston Tea Plantation, America’s largest working tea garden! Recently, it was a special honor for the Bigelow family to sponsor a gathering for a group of Bigelow Tea fans who have highlighted our teas on their blogs. The bloggers were thrilled by the experience and eager to share a “blog’s eye view” of the visit for their readers – and you!

The bloggers met with Cindi Bigelow, third-generation CEO, and her parents, David and Eunice Bigelow, Co-Chairmen of Bigelow Tea (fyi David’s mother–Ruth Campbell Bigelow—started the company nearly 70 years ago). The bloggers also enjoyed a trolley tour of the 127-acre grounds, a tea tasting, and learned about different types of tea and tea production. One guest, Rebecca Parsons of Cre8tive Compass Magazine, mused before the three-day trip that she looked forward to “many delightful tea moment memories.”

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For Rebecca, the trip was all she hoped for: “Green tea leaves shimmer in the midday sun as our trolley rambles along a sandy path on Wadmalaw Island. The sky is bluer than I have ever seen against the straight rows of tea. Cindi Bigelow stands to share her Tea Moment Memories … a tear fills my eye. I am here. I am moved. I am blessed.” And Whitney from Rambles of a SAHM called the tea garden visit “the ultimate field trip.”

Meanwhile, Kristy, a former Bigelow fan of the month and founder of Mommy Hates Cooking, and Tammy from Three Different Directions, appreciated learning about Bigelow Tea’s SustainabiliTEA program. Kristy was also impressed that Bigelow Tea remains a family-owned business that blends and packages all tea varieties right here in the USA! All the bloggers had a chance to sample American Classic Teas, which are grown at the Charleston Tea Plantation.

Bigelow Tea thoroughly enjoyed making tea memories with these bloggers, and looks forward to many more visits from all our tea fans! Come on down anytime!

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Bigelow Tea Promotes Sensible Transportation Efforts All Year Long

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At Bigelow Tea we’re curious about your daily commute to work. Unless you work at home—commuting with tea cup in hand from the kitchen to office down the hall!—getting to work means spending on gas, tolls, parking and car maintenance. So when Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy proclaimed the week of May 13th “CTrides Week,” Bigelow Tea was on board as an eager partner!  As part of the challenge, visitors were encouraged to visit CTrides.com to consider alternatives to driving alone to work, pledging to share a ride at least one day during CTrides Week.

Sharing rides reduces traffic congestion and positively impacts air quality, decreasing CO2 emissions for everyone. ABC News reports that the average price of gas nationwide in 2012 was $3.60 per gallon and that the average fuel economy of vehicles on the road was 23.5 miles per gallon. It all adds up, and many commuters with larger vehicles pay over $2,000 a year for gas alone. Try this commuting costs calculator to look at your own annual costs of gas and parking!

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Bigelow Tea has always been energized about conservation and saving resources. We have a big job transporting and delivering our many teas, like our Chocolate Chai, all over the country. Part of our commitment to reducing emissions is utilizing efficient shipping routes and decreasing idling time of trucks. Our drive to consolidate shipping loads has reduced our shipping miles by over 50,000 a year!

We can all make a difference in commuting costs, and all year long. It’s the right thing to do, and there’s another bonus: it’s easier to enjoy your Bigelow Tea on the go when you share rides! Score!

Image by baudman via Flickr.com

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On Chocolate Day, Bigelow Tea is Ready To Indulge!

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Here’s some seriously exciting news: Chocolate Day is July 7th! At Bigelow Tea we don’t really need an excuse to indulge in this amazing confection, but it’s nice to know that there’s one day each year when we can satisfy our sweet tooth in good company!

At Bigelow Tea we do love the taste of chocolate and have even created two tea blends that include that luscious flavor. We have a rich Chocolate Chai and our seasonal White Chocolate Obsession! This time of year, we think Iced Chocolate Chai would be a fantastic afternoon “snack” or a sweet morning pick-me-up. Just brew up a pot and serve it over ice … maybe with a little sweetener and milk. Heaven!

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We’ve also created a few recipes that incorporate Bigelow Tea and the taste of chocolate. Here’s one that will go beautifully over a scoop of ice cream … chocolate of course!

Earl Grey Milk Chocolate Sauce

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Ingredients:

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

10 bags Bigelow Earl Grey Tea*

2 cups (12-ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup (6-ounces) milk chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon salt

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Yields: 2 cups chocolate sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes   

Cooking Time:  10 to 12 minutes

Instructions:

In 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring evaporated milk to a simmer.  Add 10 tea bags; steep 5 minutes.  Remove bags from evaporated milk and squeeze to remove liquid; discard bags.

Add remaining sauce ingredients to tea milk mixture.  Stir until chocolate chips melt (2 to 3 minutes).  If necessary, heat over low heat to help melt chocolate chips.

To serve: place a scoop of ice cream in bowl.  Top with Earl Grey chocolate sauce.

Refrigerate remaining chocolate sauce. Re-heat refrigerated Earl Grey sauce over low heat until softened to desired consistency.

 

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Independence Day Gives Us A Proud Smile At Bigelow Tea

btthursJuly 4th is one of those special days that just make us smile at Bigelow Tea. Smiles for the family reunions and picnics; thefireworks, parades and baseball games, and a special smile for the cherished freedoms that the day represents. Independence Day brings out patriotic displays all over the country, drawing us back to 1776 and the birth of our nation. And not just a new nation separating from oppressive British rule, but a new philosophy of freedom and powerful ideals, penned so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

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It was in the spirit of that freedom and independence that Bigelow Tea introduced the Tea for the Troops program, our specially packaged American Classic Tea which is proudly made right here in the USA at our Charleston Tea Plantation. Adorned in the image of old glory, our Tea for the Troops is one way that we say “thanks!” to all of those who guard our freedoms.

By the way, the term “Independence Day” was not in use until 1791. But even before John Hancock put his signature on the Declaration of Independence, founding father John Adams described what the new nation’s holiday should be like. In a letter to his wife Abigail Adams dated July 3rd 1776, he wrote that there should be celebration throughout history with “…pomp and parade … games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other …!” An apt description, but of course we would add everything Iced Tea to that prescription!

We all remember that tea played an important role in the struggle for independence, and today—brewed and poured over ice—it’s the perfect beverage to keep us cool and hydrated on a busy July 4th!  A happy and safe holiday to all!

 

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Don’t Wait: Get Bigelow Tea’s 2013 Limited Edition First Flush Loose Tea

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At Bigelow Tea we’re feeling flushed and want to share some important and tea-rrific news! Down at our Charleston Tea Plantation, we’ve harvested the very first tea leaves of the season … and that means our special American Classic First Flush® Loose Tea is now stocked and is ready for sale! This unique black tea comes out only once a growing season, and is made entirely from tea plants grown at our tea garden on South Carolina’s Wadmalaw Island.

This “First Flush” tea is produced from the leaves of the tea plants’ new growth for the season, which is called their “first flush.” The leaves from this early part of the growing season produce a smooth and mellow flavor for a truly pure and fresh cup of fine tea. We’re certain that our customers will appreciate this tea with its defined taste and amazing freshness!

As we focus on quality rather than quantity, our selection of First Flush® is quite limited. Can’t get to South Carolina? We understand. You can also purchase this tea through our website, and we will ship it right out to you. Each 2.3-ounce canister, which is a lovely shade of ivory, costs $15. We hope you’ll give it a try … and we can’t wait to hear what you think of this very special tea!

 

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Enter The Bigelow Tea Sweepstakes To Win American Classic Teas!

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Our July sweepstakes starts TODAY with a patriotic prize that any Bigelow Tea lover would covet! Twelve lucky winners will take home an American Classic Tea Sampler featuring six very special teas grown and produced at Charleston Tea Plantation! We are so proud of these homegrown teas and super excited to highlight them as part of our salute to the ol’ red, white and blue!

If you have never tried American Classic Teas, you are in for a treat. Tea connoisseurs rave about the fresh, smooth flavor of teas grown at Charleston Tea Plantation, America’s largest working tea garden. The climate on Wadmalaw Island, just outside Charleston, is perfect for tea growing, and the 127-acre tea garden is filled with beautiful camellia sinensis tea plants as far as the eye can see! The trolley tour of the lush grounds is a must if you’re ever in the area!

Now, here’s more about your prize:

Each American Classic Tea Sampler includes the following full leaf teas in pyramid tea bags (3 of each flavor for a total of 18 tea bags):

Rockville Raspberry Tea
Governor Gray Tea
American Classic Tea
Island Green Tea
Charleston Breakfast Tea
Plantation Peach Tea

Try them all over ice for a refreshing summertime thirst quencher! To enter, “like” our Facebook page (if you haven’t already!), and click on the sweepstakes icon at the top of the page under our cover photo. The sweeps ends on July 29 … look for the names of the winners on our Bigelow Tea blog. Good luck, and happy Fourth of July to all!

 

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Bigelow Tea Get Ready For Summer Sweepstakes Winners Announced

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We are so excited to announce the winners of our Get Ready For Summer Sweepstakes.  Note that we will contact you via email to confirm your mailing address.  If you don’t hear from us within 2 weeks, check your spam folder and if you find nothing, leave a comment here on the blog.  Congrats and enjoy your iced tea!

Joseph from Maryland

Dawn from Texas

Jenna from New York

M from Florida

Christine from California

Alex from California

Rita from California

Carol from New Hampshire

Elina from Illinois

Stacy from Ontario

Rita from Massachusetts

Shawna from Maine

Poneh from California

Connie from Alberta

Kim from Colorado

Leigh from South Carolina

Sharon from Vermont

Debbie from Wisconsin

Brenda from Florida

Stacey from Illinois


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Meet Lynn From “Makeup With Tea,” Our Bigelow Tea Fan Of The Month!

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Makeup With Tea is a blog that welcomes readers to “explore the world of beauty, art, makeup and tea.” We here at Bigelow Tea are eager to embark on the journey with Lynn, creator of this wonderful blogosphere retreat and our Fan of the Month! The blog showcases many lovely and irresistible items, including our Green Tea Decaffeinated, which Lynn described on her blog as “smooth and grassy green.” Thank you, Lynn!

It turns out that tea is an integral part of Lynn’s lifestyle, which keeps her busy tending to her blog and connecting with friends. She typically wakes up with a caffeinated tea, such as Green Tea, to take on the workday. But after she gets home, “it’s a relaxing time,” she says. “I usually read other bloggers or write my own articles while sipping tea again. Usually it’s Bigelow’s Green Tea Decaf or Cozy Chamomile Herb Tea. It’s enough to keep me in a relaxed state.”

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We love Lynn’s youthful energy (she’s 23) and her wise-beyond-her-years attitude about life: “I believe that everything we do—we do for each other. We work so we can afford to spend quality time with each other. We write and read and learn so we can engage in this life, just a little better.”

The best moments? Those free of all obligations, when she can enjoy friends and family … and a cup of Green Tea Decaffeinated, her favorite Bigelow Tea. “It’s the perfect green tea to unwind during the night,” says Lynn. “It’s got a very smooth taste with a true green taste without the bitters. The aftertaste is the best part—you really get a good aroma of the green tea leaves.”

Learn more about Lynn’s favorite discoveries on Makeup With Tea!

 

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