The plants for our Italian cistus tea are grown at 500m elevation in the natural environment of the Hyblaean Mountains in southeastern Sicily. The farm is located in a protected area not far from the famous “Cavegrande del Cassibile”, a canyon with stunning turquoise rivers and water basins and breath-taking waterfalls. The mineral soil of the Hyblaean Mountains is well-suited for growing medicinal and aromatic herbs. A large proportion of the wild-growing herbs in the region include thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano.
The family farm prioritises the sustainable use of the land and is therefore very mindful of how their farm is operated. They rarely plow the fields and avoid monocultures so that the land can benefit from biodynamic farming. The plants are allowed to grow according to their natural growth cycles. The cistus is grown with natural seeds and cuttings from healthy native plants. No artificial fertiliser is used out of principle. Rather, the soil is naturally enriched with the occasional cattle visit by the neighbouring farm's herd. The natural pollination of the plants is supported by the farm's own beehive with 15 bee colonies.
The leaves and buds of the cistus plant are harvested twice a year in the spring (April) and autumn (October). We chose the autumn harvest for this tea because it is more aromatic and flavourful than the spring harvest. The autumn harvest takes place immediately after the rainy season in October following the hot Sicilian summer. The cistus is carefully hand-picked and gently dried for 48 hours at controlled temperatures between 35-40°C.