Oregon’s newly budding tea industry is showing signs of a hopeful future. With growing enterprises like Tao of Tea interested in localizing their supply chain the demand for tea production in Oregon could reach to new heights and bring pioneering producers like Minto Island Growers into the spotlight.
In the fall issue of Edible Portland we learn that tea has been quietly cultivated in Oregon since the 1980s. While several local purveyors like Stash Tea, Tazo, and Steven Smith Tea Makers have already established a presence in the Portland beverage scene, not only does tea compete for acres, it’s also in competition with Oregon’s other major love affairs with specialty beverages like wine, beer and coffee.
According to agriculture and business development specialist, John Vendeland, “Once people discover tea, they tend to fall in love with it.” He and other entrepreneurs in the space hope that continues to be the case as they work with farmers to cultivate this crop.
Nationally, according to the Tea Association of the USA, the growth of the domestic tea industry is projected to nearly double from $7.8 billion in 2010 to $15 billion in 2014.
To learn more about the growing tea industry and what it means for beverage makers, farmers and Oregon agriculture, pick up a Fall issue of Edible Portland. Also, tune in to OPB’s Think Out Loud Thursday, Sept. 5 for a discussion about Oregon-grown tea and the long journey these little leaves have taken to the spotlight.