By Sharon Letts
Victoria England’s British roots have crept into her new brand, High St. Teas, inspired by her longtime home in Humboldt and its beloved cash crop.
Born in England, and raised in Mill Valley, California, it is was not until 1994 that she arrived in Humboldt County to attend Humboldt State University. By 2006, she felt that in order to stay in the region, she would have to start her own business. Thus began Tulip perfume; now distributed widely in retail shops and online via Target, Amazon and many more platforms.
Now 41 years old, England’s love of fragrance began at the tender age of 14. The passion was inspired by trips to a scent bar in Berkeley, California where she first began curating her own fragrances. Her Amber Vanilla Bean perfume, developed as a teenager, has been a top seller since the Tulip line launched.
“Even before I started Tulip I always wanted to make and sell tea,” England shared from her home in Westhaven, [California]. “I am a tea connoisseur and ritual tea drinker, so, when I saw the cannabis market opening up with legalization, I decided to create my own cannabis tea and brand.”
England has been a patient for 15 years. She began using cannabis to treat an anxiety condition, which she was diagnosed with when she was 18 years old.
“For many, cannabis can heighten anxiety, but for me, it’s helped,” she explained. “In the process, I found that it not only works as medicine, but as a catalyst for my creative energy – which is a blessing!”
England partnered with longtime friend Amy Frugard, who handles marketing and events. Though formulating the tea was not easy for the two to figure out, the final product has been well received in, what can be, a finicky market in cannabis savvy Humboldt County.
“We have found that there are a lot of patients who really respond to the idea of having their medicine in tea form. Being of British descent, I find it very dignified,” she laughed. “When you think about it, tea is already a ritual in most people’s lives.”
Water infusion is an ancient form of extracting the beneficial terpenes from plants; it’s also one of the simplest methods. England shared that they will be keeping track of the patient’s feedback in order to design new blends for specific needs.
“We’ve had the opportunity to work with a local herbal farmer in Fieldbrook, [California]” she explained. “All our material is organically grown cannabis flower. The extracts are made with high quality CO2, from Paradigm Cannabis Group in Southern Humboldt.”
“Our herb farmer also grows Tulsi for us,” she said. “Tulsi is the main ingredient in an Ayurvedic tea blend, and extremely beneficial. We have two new herbal blends to be released this summer, lavender with rose for relaxation; and a coffee substitute with chicory root, cocoa, nutmeg and cinnamon.”
As for the future of cannabis in Humboldt — specifically the manufacturing, distribution and use of products — England said she doesn’t have a lot of faith that new regulations will benefit the small farmer or cottage industry, as they have existed for decades.
“The gold and green rush is real,” she shared. “I fear if businesses are not set up properly they won’t make it. I became a cannabis activist in 2010 with HUmmapas, and a board member for the CCVH [California Cannabis Voice Humboldt] in 2014, in attempt to be the voice of the small farmer and producer, but that voice became an echo. We can only hope the larger businesses here in Humboldt will try to help the smaller ones succeed.”
The roller coaster of ordinances and rules is often invisible to the average cannabis consumer, who often has little sympathy as to how the product gets to market.
“Rules keep changing,” she said. “We try to do things right, then they change the rules. We’ve lost a lot of money and the roller coaster ride is far from over. The one thing that stands, the one thing we can count on is, we are Humboldt! They can’t take the beauty, the peace, and the community away from us.”
For more information, visit HighStTeas.com