Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Crystal Nelligan is the owner of Stir Artisan Tisane, which makes locally-sourced herbal tea blends

A Smithers entrepreneur is one of five finalists for the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako’s (RDBN) Start-up Business contest.

Crystal Nelligan is the owner and creator of Stir Artisan Tisane, which creates whole herbal leaf tea blends.

While Nelligan has been interested in making herbal blends as a hobby, it was last year she decided to do some research and development on what it would take to run a small artisan tea business out of a small studio in the corner of the backyard at her home in Smithers.

This included talking with local vendors and testing out selling small samples of her wares at various stores in the area, such as Stone Moth on Main Street.

The results were encouraging, with Nelligan selling out of her product by Christmas.

“It’s a passion project, I’ve always been very much a plant person and its a culmination of all of my various life experiences that have brought me to this project.”

Nelligan spends the spring and summer harvesting her various herbs and plants (she says she grows about 60 per cent of her blends, wild forages for 30 per cent and sources the other 10 per cent through other means locally.

When fall comes, it’s time to dry (and create).

Beyond creating beverages that taste, look and smell good, Nelligan said her business features another interesting aspect: all of the herbs she uses in her blends are sourced locally and indigenous to the Bulkley Valley.

The rules I’ve made for myself is that I cannot use any plants from outside of the Bulkley Valley, so I need to create flavour profiles that are unique to here.

This means creating certain flavour profiles can be challenging, however when it pays off and she is taking that first sip of a successful batch Nelligan says its all worth it.

“So I do a ‘citrus north’ blend which tastes very lemoney, it’s kind of a lemon flavour profile. I make another that’s called ‘licorice schtick’ … and that has a very licoricey profile. Then I do a bunch of other blends — I’m doing fermented fireweed which is actually quite gorgeous, it’s something like a black tea with really fruity notes and you can use the leaves in a first wash you get the black tea taste and then second wash it tastes like a green oolong tea so it’s actually surprising how many different flavours can come out of one watershed. It’s really exciting actually, every year I think I’ll be discovering more. Really, I think it’s limitless.”

It also means that every year’s blends will vary based on climate.

“It depends on the climate, it depends on the weather it depends on the areas that I’m harvesting. The plants change every year so the blends change every year.”

Finalists made their pitch at the Regional Business Forum in Vanderhoof on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

As for Nelligan? She said she has her work cut out for her over the coming weeks.

“I produced 200 tea bags last year and sold out by Christmas.

“This year I’m attempting to make 2,000 bags of tea and we’ll see if I sell out by Christmas. I’m not sure. I don’t think I will.”

Nelligan ended by saying she is extremely grateful for all of the support she has received from the local community.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Bulkley Valley artisan tea business advances to finals of RDBN contest

Just Posted

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Smithers Local Health area reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 for the second week of January. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 32 in Smithers LHA Jan. 10 – 16

Northern Health reports 35 new cases for 501 active, 44 hospitalized, 17 in critical care Wednesday

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Smithers Secondary School students participate in a high performance workout in advance of the school becoming a campus of the Canadian Sport School. (Thom Barker photo)
Smithers Secondary chosen for campus of elite sport school

The Canadian Sport School provides supports and resources for high performance athletes

Robin Price in action with Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer team. (TRU photo)
Former Smithers athlete helps Kamloops homeless people

Robin Price, now a fourth year nursing student and soccer player at TRU, spearheads fundraiser

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read