Buds of Little Rose founder and chair Melissa Steele, left, stands with ME + Tea owner Precious Jones, right, in front of the outdoor garden where Jones will grow herbs for her products. [Photo by Julia Fechter]

Oconee County High School graduate Precious Jones never thought that she would be expanding her herbal tea business at a farm only one mile from where she was raised on Elder Mill Road.

But now, she is collaborating with Melissa Steele and Buds of Little Rose to help produce more herbs for her ME + Tea products. 

“I’ve always been doing tea, but I never thought I’d be doing it as a business,” Jones said. “It’s just humbling...I never thought that I would be up the street [from my parents] planting herbs and doing tea.” 

Jones launched ME + Tea in 2017 with the philosophy that tea is “an extension of a physically healthy way of life.”

For over a decade, she has used green, black and oolong teas from all around the world and blended them with herbs that she has increasingly tried to grow herself. 

Her children grew up drinking teas mixed with herbal wellness formulas that have been in Jones’s family.

“They grew up with herbs,” she said. “I’m really strong on the preventative end of things to keep down the chances of illness. It’s better to keep down the chances than to cure.” 

After Jones launched her business, Steele purchased some tea to help soothe a relative’s nausea, and she eventually reached back out to the entrepreneur to let her know about wild passion flowers on the historic Elder farm. 

Last summer, she and Jones officially began collaborating by experimenting with 12 different herbs, a third of which did really well. 

“My whole thing is that I want to grow all my own herbs that I’m dealing with. That’s the ultimate goal,” Jones said. 

Jones and Steele put in hours of research and consulted with University of Georgia officials to take Jones’ herb-growing operation to the next level, all the while keeping conservation in mind. Jones will grow tea herbs in an outdoor garden and Steele’s greenhouse. 

For more on this story, see the Dec. 10 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.

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