Japanese Tea and Silk Colony Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Wakamatsu Taiko Drummers (Photo courtesy of American River Conservancy)

The Wakamatsu farm
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wakamatsu Farm, 941
Cold Springs Road, Placerville.

Site June 8, 1869 with 4.8 tons of tea seeds, enough to grow six million trees.
Additionally they crated for their travel throughout the Pacific, thousands of mulberry
trees, fruit tree seedlingsplants to produce oil and paper in addition to bamboo and rice.

The next year a
highlight. Tour guides and docents in costume will share stories of the first days of their settlement.


Wakamatsu Costumed Docents (Photo courtesy of American River Conservancy)

Settlers arrived at the

Released at Mon, 03 Jun 2019 21:33:59 +0000

Funds to purchase 200 acres of land near Placerville known as the Gold Hill
Ranch. Colonists subsequently planted 50,000 three-year-old kuwa (mulberry) and
terraces of tea at what became known as the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm.

Schnell used Lord Matsudaira’s
Wakamatsu is the only known settlement of samurai out Japan. The heritage of those 22 warriors lives on as portion of Western settlers and at the modern cultivation of tea plants from an early line.
The land was largely

California State Agricultural Fair in Sacramento, the colony displayed silk
cocoons, tea and other foodstuffs. A similar screen in 1870 at San Francisco
illustrates to the initial achievement of the industrious farmers.

Mike Fritts at Golden Feather Tea
acquired some plants believed to be out of the first Wakamatsu stock.

Left by 1873 as it was bought by the Francis Veerkamp household who
farmed the property for 140 years. Little is known concerning the colonists. Colonist Matsunosuke
Sakurai, believed to be a samurai, functioned for the rest of his lifetime for its Veerkamp family. People who
remained were barred by law from getting citizens but established a generation
of farmers, who by 1900 produced 10 percent of California’s crops.

In 1969 Ichiro Matsudaira, the grandson of the lord
The American River Conservancy is hosting the 150th Salon party of their first Japanese colony in America–the Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Farm Colony at Placerville, California.

Source: Earth
Drought that lasted for several months forced the construction of irrigation
system but tailings from gold mining operations near had polluted the
water sulfate that murdered the majority of the young plants. Their benefactor
in Japan was captured and turned into a Shinto priest, surrendering his riches. The
first Japanese-American was born at the colony.

The next year at the

Gloomy post-script, the majority of the tea Fritts planted was burnt in massive wildfires
that destroyed his Concow farm and the nearby town of Paradise, California.

Hammer at Purple Cloud Tea House stated he
mailed a sample out of Golden Feather to some friend and tea scholar, a professor
at South China Agriculture University in Guangzhou, who stated he”could taste
the wild in the tea”

Learn more: Wakamatsu

In a
Fest 150
or email: wakamatsu@ARConservancy.org

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In 2010 horticulturalist

Civil war with samurai amassing armies to defeat westerners arriving at what
was until then an insular and isolated archipelago. The key islands have been under
the control of Tokugawa shogunates that banned Japanese citizens from
traveling abroad.

Province named Matsudaira Katamori (1835-1893) compared the Tokugawa ban. Anticipating
reprisal, Matsudaira trained his samurai in using firearms with the assistance of John Henry Schnell, an early member of the Prussian embassy in Japan (who
marketed European weapons). Schnell was made samurai and married a Japanese woman.
In 1868 his army of 4,000 was defeated by 20,000 of their emperor’s soldiers.
Fearing for his safety, Matsudaira agreed to finance the colony in April 1869,
booking passage on the PMSS China, a
side-wheel steamer rigged for sail. He sent Schnell, his spouse, their 19-year-old
nursemaid and a cadre of farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and fellow samurai to
San Francisco, arriving in May.

Tea News.
Agree,” wrote Hammer. “The terroir of Mike’s tea was present in his tea and
complimented his processing methods, leading to a delicious cup, called complicated, juicy, hot, and sweet with a wonderful lasting after-taste,” said
Hammer. In 2015 an oolong from the garden won second place at the Tea of the
United States (TOTUS) contest in Volcano, Hawaii. 

Initiated the daimyo, then Gov. Ronald Regan, celebrated the farm centennial.
In 2010 the American River Conservancy bought the property and restored it
as a working Registered Historical Landmark. The plantation is open to the public
several times per year and works a native plant nursery, food gardens, a 1.5-mile
wheelchair accessible path around a lake; with milk herds and products, lamb
and wool products and eggs.

Wakamatsu Tea

Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Farm aerial photograph (Courtesy of the American River Conservancy)

The majority of the tea plants are just singed and the root stock is still going
strong. We simply have to get back and do the job we will need to do in order to revive the
tea farm,” said Fritts.

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Unique cultivar is wild at nature and believed to have arrived at the U.S.
with the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony at 1869,” according to Fritts, who
recounted the intriguing journey of the first tea which was rediscovered in