January 2009 Newsletter

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The Finest Tea from A to Zhi!
Zhi Tea

Zhi Tea certified organic teas are the passion of two Austin tea lovers who are dedicated to finding the best tasting, highest quality organic whole-leaf teas in the world.

Zhi Tea is truly a luxury - and one you can afford. Whole leaf tea is actually less expensive than tea bags, and Zhi Tea is of such high quality that it is meant to be steeped several times. Second and even third steepings are often better than the first!

Try some of the tempting varieties when you visit the store - we always have a cup of tea waiting for you!
Celebrate the Year of the Ox: Asian Festival 2009
ITC Asian Festival

Join Big Grass Bamboo for the fun at the Institute of Texan Culture's annual Asian Festival. We'll be there with an array of Thai handicrafts on display and Duang will be on hand to share stories about her homeland.

Festival activities include a wide variety of Asian cuisines, performances, games, crafts, shopping and more.

The Asian festival is expected to be a popular event, so bring friends and family down to HemisFair Park from 10am-5pm on Saturday, January 31

Plenty of parking nearby.  More info online at the ITC website.

New in the Store!
Vietnamese Ceramics
Vietnamese Pots

We just received a shipment of unglazed terracotta ceramics from Vietnam. Handmade, organic shapes and contemporary designs.

Our high-fired clay pots will last forever and won't break or decompose unlike much of the common-quality pottery imported from Mexico and other countries. 

From $45-$450 for 12" to 50" sizes.
January 2009

It's a new year that is sure to bring big changes for all of us. When visiting the store, many of you have told us about some of your New Year's resolutions. To be more conscious in your consumption. To buy less but enjoy things more. To be more "green" at home and at work.  Oh, and lose that 20 pounds that you've been carting around.

We might not be able to help with that last one. But we can help you transform your home and your lifestyle into one that is beautiful, enjoyable... and yes, green.

Be inspired. Shop green. Shop smart.
John & Duang Hanesworth
Water Restrictions Likely to Start Earlier in 2009
Ong JarA recent news article noted San Antonio finished 2008 as the driest in recorded history. Scientists say dry conditions will continue into the fall and city leaders anticipate water restrictions may begin months earlier than expected. 

One environmentally sound way to keep your lawn green is water collection. Rainwater and condensation, which lack harmful minerals such as chlorine or fluoride, is naturally soft and pure. Flowers, gardens & lawns will thrive, and your freshly washed car will be spot-free.

Here at the store, we collect the condensation from our air conditioning unit - 200 gallons a week!  And with a basic collection system, the average 2000sf home in Bexar County & Hill Country area will save 18,000 gallons annually from our average 32 inches of rainfall. That's equal to 2 months of water use for the average home.  Think what could happen if we all
reduced our demand on the Edwards Aquifer by 20%!

Typical not-so-attractive rainwater collection barrels are made of green or brown plastic, last about 5-7 years, and can cost as much as $1800 for a 214 gallon container.  Big Grass' high-density eco-friendly concrete water urns are gorgeous, graceful works of art that can be stained to match your decor & last up to 50 years. We offer a full guarantee for 10 years; 200 gallon and 350 gallon sizes start at only $825. 

Call us to talk about your landscape and water usage needs - we'd be happy to answer any questions about installation, upkeep, style/color/size and more.  Plus we'll share with you our no-chemical, all natural method for ensuring no mosquitoes - ever!
Data gathered from mysa.com, www.prlog.org, and www.composters.com.

Bambuver:  Talking With Mexico's Premier Organic Bamboo Grower

Don RafaelBambuver, A.C., located in Vera Cruz on Mexico's southeast coast, is the foremost organic bamboo plantation in Latin America. The company provides Big Grass Bamboo with a variety of bamboo lumber and building materials, all of which are grown organically and have greater tensile strength than steel.
Founded and managed by Rafael Guillaumin Fentanes, Bambuver's philosophy is one of environmental stewardship and community development.

At 81 years of age, Don Rafael, as he is affectionately known, is a hands-on manager with a passion for quality. He has sought out the highest quality bamboo sources in developing the plantation, including the Guadua strain of bamboo that originates in Colombia. His obsession extends to the care with which the bamboo crops are grown, going so far as to import Colombian earthworms to compost organic matter and naturally enrich the cropland.  
"Bamboo is not only something I'm passionate about," says Don Rafael, "but it's also a catalyst for prosperity for Mexican workers and small businesses. My operation directly employs 100 men and women, and many more indirectly. I'm very proud that we're providing quality "green" jobs for people who don't want to abandon their families and migrate to other countries looking for work."
Big Grass is proud to be one of Bambuver's exclusive U.S. partners. We applaud Don Rafael for being the first developer of organic bamboo building materials in Mexico, helping create a new industry and leaving an important legacy for his country.

Some of the varieties of bamboo lumber Big Grass carries include Madake, a thinner walled culm that is easy to split for decorative application in strips or half-rounds or for dry arrangements in pots, as well as Colombian Guadua - a super thick-walled culm for outdoor construction.  Guadua is great for gazebos, shade porches, and DIY backyard projects.

Recent projects where you can see some of our work include Tong's Thai restaurant in Alamo Heights and Lucky's at Canyon Lake.  Big Grass is happy to provide design assistance and information on how to work with bamboo.
First Night: Austin Celebrates the Arts
First NightAustin's annual city-wide celebration of the arts took place from 3pm to midnight on New Year's Eve at various locations around downtown.  Big Grass joined the fun and participated in a unique demonstration to educate the Austin community about sustainability. 
Austin nonprofit Re:Growth created an interactive woven bamboo structure that displayed the flexibility of bamboo and it's regenerative properties. The  display was designed by the same team responsible for similar structures at Burning Man and Coachella.

To provide seating around the structure, Big Grass created sculptural benches using traditional oak chairs as supports for 5" Guadua bamboo poles.  The contrast between the young but immense bamboo and the 50-year old oak that had been felled for the chairs was a lesson in sustainability for partygoers around the city.
More than 100,000 Austinites turned out for the New Year's celebration that ended with a fireworks display. We would like to thank Re:Growth for the opportunity and the people of Austin for hosting community events that both entertain and educate the public.

Big Grass Bamboo is global style for living, bath, bed & outdoor. We work directly with artisans families and co-ops in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Mexico to transform generations of craftsmanship into chic and unique treasures for your home.  At Big Grass you'll find artisan handcrafted furnishings, home accents, lighting, bar sets, native clothing and more. For outdoor you'll find unique garden décor, fountains and rainwater conservation jars. 

Live green. Live in style. Big Grass Bamboo style.
Visit our showroom at 637 West Hildebrand in San Antonio or check out our online store at biggrassbamboo.com.

Big Grass Partners