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Letter to the Editor – Soren Shade

By Staff | Jun 23, 2021

Dear Editor,

I don’t know about you but I’m super excited for the upcoming Back Home Festival on the weekend of the 25th-27th! Despite growing up in New Martinsville, I am ashamed to have never attended. I have a good excuse! I was attending school in NYC the first two fests.

I’m not missing it this year. After spending over 18 years in New Martinsville — witnessing the gradual decline in population, business, and opportunity — it will be a delight watching life return to my old haunting grounds. And the lineup is one for the ages! No, I’m not missing it this year!

I recently started a business with a good friend from college selling kratom tea bags. Our company is only about a year old now, and are just beginning to see some success come from our hard work. You see, kratom tea is a traditional beverage with well over 300 years of traditional use in Thailand. It is a close relative of coffee used by Thai farmers while working long hours in the hot, baking sun. And it doesn’t have any caffeine either. It’s an incredible herb that I came across in my studies at Columbia University.

Now that I’m coming “back home” for the festival, I am thrilled to share a cup of tea with all my old neighbors and good friends. I’ll be hanging out in the vendor section the whole festival selling tea and educating everyone who wants to hear about this wonderful leaf. Look for me in the Top Tree Herbs tent!


Soren Shade (MHS ’15)