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|Articles - February 2013|
|Monday, January 28, 2013|
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BY JORDAN NOVET
The couple in charge of Minto Island Growers, a farm straddling Salem city limits, has become adept at growing and selling produce, and now they’re ready to focus more on a different part of the farm: a half-acre stand of tea plants.
Despite a horticulture expert’s view that tea is very difficult to grow in Oregon, they’re plotting ways to make a finished product on-site and get it out to a wider retail market.
“It’s a unique specialty crop in Oregon, and we think there’s a market opportunity for it,” says Elizabeth Miller, who runs the farm with her husband, Chris Jenkins.
Customers of the on-site farm stand like the teas — mostly green and oolong. Retailers have expressed interest too. A Eugene tea importer and tea bar, J-Tea International, introduced its own version of tea from Minto in November, for $4 a cup. A manager at a Salem health-food store says he might like to stock Minto tea. And Steve Smith, a former partner in Stash Tea Co. and the founder of the tea company Tazo, says he would be interested in carrying Oregon-grown tea at the Portland tasting room of his current company, Steven Smith Teamaker.
“We get a lot of culinary tourists in our shop, and I think that having Oregon-grown products would be highly appealing,” Smith says.
Smith himself was involved in tea’s introduction to Oregon. In 1989 he and the other Stash partners paid the expenses for an agriculture consultant, John Vendeland, to visit the site of a former tea plantation in South Carolina and come back with thousands of different kinds of Camellia sinensis seeds. “We were thinking of Oregon as a new origin [for tea],” Vendeland recalls. He started the plants in a greenhouse near Corvallis, to see which ones were suitable for growth outdoors. Half of the plants went outside the Stash office in Tigard; they all died. Vendeland brought the rest to Minto Island Growers, which a former business contact — Elizabeth Miller’s father, Rob — was running at the time under the name Mt. Jefferson Farms.
For years the tea crop was a research-and-development project, not a source of income, Rob Miller says. The idea was to figure out which plants had the best chance of thriving in the Willamette Valley. Five or six varieties stood out, Vendeland says.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
A new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
Because they have little chance of working for someone else, today’s teens need to be entrepreneurs. But, first, we must teach our teens that entrepreneurship starts small.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Kelly Dachtler, president of The Clymb, redefines outdoor retail.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY BRANDON SAWYER
The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Click here to fill out our survey on energy and environment issues. Results will be published in our June 2014 issue.
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