Born in Laos, and later living in Modesto, California, Thria Thao moved to Oregon in 2001, and started growing mushrooms and a “little bit of this and that” on 2 ½ acres of rented space in Aloha. With her first harvest, she set up shop at the Portland Farmers Market, which has served as a primary source of income ever since. “Tia” as she’s called, was excited that customers were willing pay full asking price for her offerings – there was no haggling like she experienced in her native country.
By 2006, Favorite Produce of Oregon expanded from produce into flowers, as Tia found flowers much easier to grow in the summer than vegetables. She purchased 20 acres of land for her expanding business, while still maintaining greenhouses on the original 2 ½ acres she rents. While Tia handles most of the day-to-day farming operations, her husband and two sons work with her side-by-side at her busy farmers market stand.
“My focus is on quality, and bringing what customers will like,” Tia says. Dahlias are her number one seller, but she also grows peonies, lilies, gladiolas, and gerbera daisies. Customers flock to the stunning center-piece ready arrangements of mixed bouquets she prepares on-site.
“I love the Portland Farmers Market,” she added. “The customers and people who work at the market are really friendly.”