It is getting warmer with the rainfall in spring. With the pace of spring, the tea gardens are turning green. About half a month before the Qingming every year, it is the busiest time for tea pluckers. When mentioning the tea pluckers, the scene like the following picture would probably appear in your mind, beautiful ladies with unified clothing, hats, each with a small bamboo basket, walking through the tea gardens with glorious songs.
But for the real tea pluckers, there are no glorious songs, unified clothing, and artificial pose. On sunny days, they wear a straw hat under the hot sun; on the freezing morning of early spring, they are bundled in coats. Let us now follow TeaVivre into those tea pluckers.
The farmer’s proverb says,”tea is a treasure while picked three days earlier; three days late, tea is a grass. ” So we can see time is very important for plucking teas. Tea must be picked in time to ensure the quality of fresh leaves, prompt the subsequent batches of tea germination as soon as possible, shorten the interval, increase the picking times, to achieve the effect of increasing production and income. So during the harvest time, the tea farmers work very hard.
Tea Gardens are generally located at higher elevations, so the tea pluckers will walk hard with bamboo baskets towards the tea gardens along the winding mountain path.
Plucking tea is a painstaking and skilled work. While picking tea, pluckers must make sure the integrity of tea buds and leaves and don’t squeeze too tight in hands; don’t press tightly in the tea basket to avoid breaking the fresh tea leaves; don’t touch the tender tea leaves with fingernails not to affect the quality of tea.
In order to save more time, every tea plucker carries the dry food and even for lunch, they just have a short break and eat the simple dry food.
They work hard, day in and day out, year after year. Their thumbs and forefingers are dyed into dark green color and the hands are cracked. They are afraid to use hand cream because anything they use will contaminate the tea.
Keep the heads down all day on picking tea leaves with both hands. At the end of the day, their necks hurt, and the arms and waists are aching too.
A basket full of tender tea leaves.
Every single leaf has not come easily.
At the end of the day, there is someone from tea gardens to receive the tea leaves. Also one day’s wages are based on the weight of fresh tea leaves.
The spring breeze gives the tender buds life; the sunlight gives them warmth; the rain and dew gives them growth, while tea pluckers make those tender leaves become our cup of tea. Brew a cup of tea patiently and taste it carefully to feel the hardship of tea pluckers.
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