Thomas Steinwinder – Founder of Longleaf Tea Company
Thomas Steinwinder and Hillary founded Longleaf Tea Company in 2018. Together they planted 1,200 tea trees on land owned by their family for five generations – an act which gave rise to Longleaf Tea Company.
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Early Life and Education
Thomas Steinwinder founded Longleaf Tea Company, a tea farm located in Laurel, Mississippi. This tea farm cultivates tea in pine needle-rich soil of southern Mississippi before selling it nationally.
Steinwinder had the idea for his tea farm while working as an engineer in Shanghai from 2010-2012. A shopkeeper asked where Americans cultivate tea; although unable to answer her directly, this question inspired something within him, and research began immediately on tea farming as an endeavor.
In 2018, Hillary and Andrew began their small operation of planting 1,200 tea plants on land that has been part of Hillary’s family for generations. Now, as one of a select few US tea farmers and producers, they hope to make waves within an industry which imports 99.9% of its tea supplies.
Thomas Steinwinder has worked as an engineer for a major engineering consulting firm for 12 years, specialising in water and wastewater treatment of oil refineries and petrochemical plants. This experience includes design, bench testing, pilot testing operations management project management.
Steinwinder has also served as an amateur boxing referee for three decades, officiating over 1,000 bouts in his time. For this work he was honored to be honored by being included into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame with Wayne Kopszywa (longstanding professional boxing referee), and Forrest Rodolfich (former professional boxer who won numerous state and regional championships).
Steinwinder and Hillary founded Longleaf Tea Company on land that has been part of her family for generations. As one of a small number of tea growers and producers in the US, their aim is to disrupt the industry by providing American made versions of this beloved beverage.
Achievement and Honors
Steinwinder was also a longstanding member of the Knights of Columbus. Steinwinder leaves behind his wife, Peggy Jo Thornton; son Richard “Bo” Steinwinder; daughter Angela Steinwinder Chatham with husband Joe; grandchildren Cheyenne Steinwinder, Ellen Steinwinder Cassie Chatham and Presley Chatham as well as sister Myrtis Eubanks along with numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Mr. Steinwinder was an devoted family man, loved by all, and will be sadly missed by many. An avid sports fan who relished spending time with friends and family alike. Mr. Steinwinder was also a lifelong member of American Legion Post 696 Biloxi where new members were inducted, such as Compatriot Willis Michaels who received his Supplemental Ancestor Certificate as well as Kenneth Michaels being presented the War Service Medal and other awards were also handed out during Orations meetings held to honor Mr. Steinwinder.
Thomas Steinwinder hails from Laurel, Mississippi. Currently living with his wife Hillary on a historic family farm that has been in her family for generations, the couple are part of an effort to make American grown tea a trend – starting Longleaf Tea Company in 2018 by planting 1,200 plants that had been part of her family’s estate for five generations prior to that point.
Thomas Steinwinder visited tea houses to practice his Chinese as an engineer between 2010 and 2012 while working in Shanghai, China. Shopkeepers would often ask why tea was not grown here in America and this prompted Thomas to study it further by conducting extensive research and collecting as much knowledge about it as he could about this industry.
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Steinwinder launched Longleaf Tea Company in Laurel, Mississippi in 2018. Together with his wife, they planted 1,200 tea plants on land that has been in their family for generations.
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