Eliah Halpenny has been the main worker, visionary, developer, processor, marketer, and the high octane fuel driving Big Island Tea. It was Eliah who declared that we would be growing tea one afternoon in 2001 when her excitement had been ignited by a report of USDA research on growing tea in Hawai`i. Eliah brings 30 yrs experience in urban horticulture to Big Island Tea. Before moving to Hawai`i in 2001, she lived in Vancouver, Canada where she worked in print advertising and marketing, while raising her two daughters.
Dr. Cam Muir is Eliah’s husband and part-time tea farmer/ processor on Kilinoe Estate. Cam is an Associate Professor of Biology, Population and Ecological Genetics, and has been instrumental in the development of Kilinoe Tea Forest as a genetically diverse plant community. Cam started studying the ecological genetics of nearby cloud forests in 1999. Cam is studying the effects of the tea genetic diversity, and environmental variables on the taste and health benefits of tea. This knowledge can help farmers to grow tea more sustainably.