The Charleston Tea Plantation got its official start in 1987, but its true history goes way back. In the 1700's the Camellia Sinensis first arrived in the United States from China. Several attempts were made in South Carolina over the next 150 years to propagate and produce tea for consumption, but none were triumphant. Not until 1888, when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina did American grown tea become a reality. In Summerville, Dr. Shepard created award winning teas until his death in 1915. For the next 48 years the tea plants grew wild at Pinehurst.
In 1963, a 127 acre potato farm located on Wadmalaw Island in the Lowcountry of South Carolina was purchased and Shepard's tea plants were transplanted from Pinehurst to the farm. This farm eventually became known as the Charleston Tea Plantation. Every Camellia Sinensis plant growing on the grounds of the Plantation is a direct descendants of Dr. Shepard's 1888 crop, making the Charleston Tea Plantation a living part of American history!