Oregon farm turns to tea

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

 

0213 FOB Dispatches OregonTea 02
Miller harvests tea plants at Minto Island Growers, where she sees promise in Minto's tea crop.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

In 2008 Elizabeth Miller and Jenkins took over the tea crop and other parts of the farm. They hired Balazs Henger, a tea fanatic from Chehalis, Wash., to harvest and process their tea. Half was for his own consumption, and the other half has gone to Miller and her husband so they can maintain a supply to sell at the farm stand, alongside the blueberries and tomatoes. Henger has held tea classes at the Minto farm, too, bringing more buzz.

Later this year, Miller and Jenkins will devote two to three more acres of their land to new tea plants. In October the couple applied for a federal grant to help cover the costs of processing, packaging and marketing their tea.

Commercial tea crops also grow on multiple Hawaiian islands, in South Carolina and in Burlington, Wash. The tea plants at Burlington’s Sakuma Bros. Farms & Market, which were propagated from cuttings off the Minto crop, have given birth to teas at the Sakuma farm stand and blends at PCC Natural Markets stores in the Seattle area.

But in Oregon, “all the data suggests it’s going to be tougher than tar to do it well,” says Ross Penhallegon, a horticulture agent with the Oregon State University Extension Service. Still, a stand of 23-year-old tea plants shows the crop has potential here, he says. A consistent supply of Oregon-grown tea could benefit from an industry on the rise. Wholesale tea sales in the United States grew from $1.84 billion in 1990 to $8.2 billion in 2011, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A.

It’s too early for Miller to call tea Oregon’s next agriculture superstar. But Minto’s tea crop does look promising to her.

“We’ve seen excitement from our customer base,” says Miller, “and we’re pretty confident that what we produce would be met with enthusiasm and would have a willing market.”



 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Founder, TealetGuest 2013-01-29 03:51:57
This is great news for Oregon, and I am happy to try their tea soon! I must mention that this is not the third commercial tea farm in the US. There is over 20 other commercial tea farms in the US, most of them in Hawaii. Thank you for sharing this story. If you would like to know more information about my work in the US tea industry please visit my company's website Tealet, we are empowering tea growers to sell their tea directly to their customers: http://www.tealet.com/
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 CEO FiLoLi TeafarmGuest 2013-01-30 23:15:38
Hello, founder of Tealet... Please contact me because I am trying to set up a possible league of tea growers in the US. I am currently the second largest commercial venture of tea in the mainland US. You may visit my page at www.filolifarms.com and can reach me at
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Banking Perspective

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank.


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

Energy Stream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Oregon already ranks as the nation’s second largest generator of hydroelectric power. (Washington is No. 1). Now an elegant new installation in Portland is putting an unconventional, sharing economy twist on this age-old water-energy pairing. The new system, launched this winter, uses the flow of water inside city water pipes to spin four turbines that produce electricity for Portland General Electric customers. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS