I too suspect the labor cost is the issue... Another example... In Turkey where most of the hazelnuts are produced, they are hand picked. In US I have not seen a viable hazelnut business plan that does not involve mechanical harvest with the ground maintained bare in the orchard. By replacing oil with labor, only partially offset by knowledge, we may be proposing a fundemental change in family economics related to the proportion of income dedicated to food.
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
you have to choose your evils. I think in the design process, you could make it fairly easy to harvest hazels without machinery.
Tea seems a bit labor intensive, but like many things that are, they are your exercise and meditation. I'm sure a lot of us could use a little of that. You can always plant them and buy your tea. If you ever need to make it, you have it.