Sometimes, you search and search for an interesting angle, cool light, anything that would make a picture that gets you excited to be a photographer. You look for a moment in time that defines the event. but you just can't seem to find it.
Then you meet a couple of guys dressed up like trees.
Mark Sotomayor and Cas Sidho were on a mission to sell tea, but more than that - to plant trees. "Buy a tea, plant a tree." That's the motto of Treecup, an organic iced tea company out of Evans City, Pennsylvania.
With each purchase of a bottle, Sotomayer promises one tree will be planted in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti where deforestation has taken 70% of the woodland. Buy a tie-dyed T-shirt and five trees will be planted. Since he started the company during an unattended break from college in 2017, he has already planted 30,000, he said. "I got kicked out of school for smoking pot," he said matter-of-factly. He later admitted he wasn't really kicked out but suspended for a semester and he finish his degree in 2020.
And each bottle comes with a seed attached to the top for the purchaser to plant wherever they see fit. Sotomayor suggests a park of your choosing.
But it's not so much the seeds or the tea that makes the booth worth a stop.
It's the vibe.
"I'm just trying to sell tea," Sotomayor said smiling ear to ear. He is open with his story and doesn't hesitate to welcome new friends to check out his teas and tinctures. But if you're interested you better get the tea this weekend, cause next year his adventures might take him else where.
"I'm doing what the Lord tells me," he said. And the lord is telling him now to tell folks about Jesus and not so much to keep seeing teas. He said he's liquidating but isn't completely saying no to the business in the future. But plans to move on in the near future.
These kinds of stories about people and how they ended up at Applefest on a beautiful fall day is truly why I really love my job.