We sometimes forget how dependent we are on the weather. How out of our control it is. This year, the regions of Assam and Darjeeling in northern India experienced a devastating, lingering drought, described by many as the worst in their living memory. It has played havoc with our Spring purchases. In fact, the organic garden in Assam that is our stock in trade, Rembeng, is unable to supply us leaf for several months and they served official notice to that effect. Our own garden, Makaibari, had a very late First Flush with none of the pronounced lightness we've come to associate with the early season plucking.
We've been scrambling to fill our Assam void with leaf from other gardens, to the degree that it is available. There aren't that many organic Assams to start off with so this is not an easy task. So the next time you pour a cup of Darjeeling or Assam, don't take it for granted.