Manure Tea Transitions

My Apologies

I am terribly sorry for my rash posting of Miss Annie’s passing. I wanted to write and honor her properly yet at the time I had no words in order to let her loyal customers know that she could no longer fill the orders being made and being deposited into her personal account.

Authentic Haven Brand ( and Manure Tea ( were her personal brand and one-woman business. She ran this business from the administration to the processing and handling of the product all by herself for many years. However, this is not the end of her legacy. None of us expected her to leave us when she did. Many of you knew of her health issues and many did not and she wanted as few to know as possible. For what reasons? I’m not sure, but I do know she was tough as nails and she was fiercely independent despite her health being compromised.

For those that did not know, Miss Annie was bound to an electric wheelchair which limited her ability to work several aspects of her business, yet she did manage to find ways to work around it. I am letting you all know about it because it will allow you to understand how I came into the picture and why her legacy is not ending.

My name is Esmeralda “Esme” Ortega. I met Annie back in 2020 through the 4H program. My daughters and I went to help her feed her cows and after chatting a bit, we hit it off and became fast friends. You see, I have my own small ranch where I own horses and at the time, mini cows and many more farm animals so I understood her needs very quickly. I offered to help her outside of 4H and slowly we built trust with each other and continued to build our friendship. She learned that I served in Marine Corps for 13 years and I learned about her family and how they owned Camp Pendleton as land they farmed and grew tomatoes (and much more) before it was Camp Pendleton, where I served many years. Funny enough, early in my military career, I served at a unit located between the beach and the 5 Freeway, where they still grew tomatoes, and we exercised between the fields. I may or may not have taken a tomato or two to eat on my run.

In our long-winded talks, because we could both talk each other’s ears off, hehe, she found that I had a genuine interest in her business and was fascinated by her family’s legacy. My interest in her business boiled down to my love of animals, living off the land, homesteading which I had started by investing in my five-acre ranch and the animals I had already added to it. I enjoyed picking her brain. Her vast knowledge was helping me with my own goals for my small homestead. She learned I had a knack for technology, and she asked me for help on several aspects of her Manure Tea website which I was able to fix for her.

One day, during one of our chats, her business came up and I asked her, “who are you going to pass your business to?”, her eyes welled up with tears as she explained she had no one to pass the business to. She had no children, and the little family she had left had no interest in an agricultural business. It was then that I asked her to teach me. I explained to her how I would love to one day continue her business whether she decided that she wanted to expand it or to pull back from it because I didn’t ever see her wanting to retire. There is a heaviness in writing this.….

And so, she taught me. She taught me how to make her Premium Manure Tea soil conditioner. Her Alfalfa tea for roses, her cow and horse manure teas. She taught me her personal recipes and how they work best. She taught me her branding, her business, her cows, and more than anything else, her friendship.

For the last year, I saw her about 4 to 5 days out of the week and I helped her with much, much more than her business. I am so sad that I couldn’t be there for her, be there with her at the very end and only God knows the reasons but I got really sick and was bedridden when she ended up at the hospital. The information I received at the time was that she was okay and it felt like it was just another short hospital stay (another of several since I had met her). I thought there was no way I was going to expose her to my being sick, not knowing I was never going to see my friend again.

So here I am. One month after her passing, I woke up and realized “her business! Her customers!!”. This realization led to my rash posting to alert her customers to postpone their orders and attempt to recoup their money for those that have already ordered. There is so much more here that I just can’t cover and explain that led to this delay apart from shock, self-doubt and that we had in no way planned for a transition this early on. I will never be able to fill Annie Haven’s shoes. Annie was a force unto herself. She taught me so much, but I still have much more to learn.

In the meantime, I will be working on her business, to continue her work which I will do my best to honor her and her memory. Please be patient with me as I make the adjustments necessary during this transition so I can continue to provide you with the best products possible. If you knew Annie, if you have any stories, knowledge, or comments to pass on, I would love to hear them.


  1. Penelope Pepper says

    Annie could not have picked a finer person to help carry on her legacy. She will be missed, but we can look ahead to a promising future.

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