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Fairbanks tea company tastes success in North American finals

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Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:51 pm | Updated: 1:41 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Sipping Streams Tea Company, a family-owned Fairbanks business, is savoring its first- and second-place awards at the North American Tea Championships in Las Vegas.

Jenny and Steven Downer won first place in the “Black CTC” tea category for “Assam CTC,” which is a “dark, malty and strong tea that is suitable for addition of milk or sugar.”

They won second place in the “Dark Oolong” category for “Darjeeling Oo-long,” an Indian tea in which entries from China and Taiwan are dominant.

The competition, which took place Feb. 28-29, featured 230 premium hot teas submitted by 50 tea companies, both large and small. There were 20 first-place winners.

Sipping Streams has a tea house, which is downstairs and around the corner from College Town Pizza in College.

The tea house is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


GROWING CONCERN: About 85 people have signed up to get the lowdown on growing mushrooms at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge today through a workshop led by a Vermont grower.

Glenn Coville, founder of Wild Branch Mushrooms, will include a hands-on presentation about growing mushrooms in straw.

Coville, who was raised in Ketchikan, is here for a workshop that precedes the eighth annual conference on sustainable agriculture at the Princess Lodge. The conference is Wednesday and Thursday.

Another pre-conference workshop is a business-planning session by John Collins of the Alaska Farmland Trust on starting a farm.

Other topics at the conference will include a presentation on the operation of Alaska’s only flour mill, updates on pasture management, innovative farm contraptions, a peony growers update, beekeeping, growing grass on gravel runways and meeting local food supplies.

The Alaska Community Agriculture Association will host its annual meeting from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday. This group of Alaska farmers, gardeners and community members promotes sustainable local food systems.

Preconference workshops are $35 and registration for the conference is $75 or $55 for one day. Preregistration is requested for planning purposes. See a full conference schedule, register online or download a registration form at For more information, contact Taylor Maida at 474-2422 at the Cooperative Extension Service.


COUNTING VOTES: In the future, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck will probably be missing from the Denali Borough election results.

The borough is considering an ordinance to stipulate that votes for dogs and phony candidates will no longer be tallied. Soon, you will have to choose a real candidate for your vote to count.


OREGON ALUMNI: University of Oregon Alumni are invited to drop by Bobby’s Downtown on Second Avenue next Monday from 5-7 p.m.

Jeff Cook from the Oregon class of 1966 and Jon Cook from the class of 1989 will host the event. Refreshments will be provided and there will be door prizes.

Several University of Oregon officials plan to attend, including Michael Moffitt, dean of the University of Oregon Law School. RSVP to Jeff Cook at



IN THE RUNNING: Fairbanks musician Caitlin Warbelow, now living in New York, is scheduled to be with a group on the “Today” show on NBC about 10 a.m.

In the pre-taped segment a reporter tries to learn to play the uilleann pipes, which she says is “one of the most difficult instruments in the world.”

“We couldn’t stop laughing. Hopefully you’ll find it amusing, too,” she said.

Of more importance, Warbelow is in the running for a 2012 Independent Music Award.

The CD is “Manhattan Island Sessions,” which was recorded last year in New York and features 15 leading young musicians recorded at three traditional Irish music sessions. Warbelow produced the CD and plays the fiddle on it.

While there are judges’ awards in this competition, there are also awards decided upon by the voters.

At www.independent you can register to vote for her CD.

Dermot Cole can be reached at or 459-7530.

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