May of 2017 Tye shared his story of how he got started growing Dragon Fruit. The story starts off, Never heard of Acadiana’s exotic dragon fruit nursery? You’re not alone. Even if you knew what to look for and where to find it, you’d still probably miss it. The fruit farm hides behind an ordinary house on La. 347 between Breaux Bridge and Parks Louisiana. But if you stumbled upon the right place, Tye Miller might welcome you into his home, where the interior contemporary furnishings contrast the house’s traditional brick exterior. You’d probably notice the electric guitars on display in the living room. You’d discover that one room has been transformed into a hockey rink. Miller, 44, might show you the exotic paradise in his backyard where pineapples, bananas, passion fruits and more than 50 varieties of dragon fruit grow. Miller isn’t your average exotic-fruit-growing dad.
By day, he manages an information technology company. By night, he’s an ice hockey player and exotic fruit farmer. “You’re not going to come to Louisiana and find somebody else with a hockey room in the house and dragon fruit plants in the backyard,” Miller said with a laugh. Although he has sold thousands of plant cuttings through his business, Spicy Exotics, it remains a relatively small, home-based operation few locals know about. Miller’s background in IT made selling online the more natural option over selling locally at farmers markets. “We did a reverse selling process where we started selling globally before we actually tried the local market,” Miller said. “And to our surprise, there are lots of local people who heard about the plant but never had the opportunity to see it. Who would have thought the business would have had any interest locally?” But people were thrilled last October when he decided to bring his plants to the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Moncus Park Horse Farm. Even market manager Mark Hernandez had no idea Spicy Exotics existed until Miller reached out to him. “I was not surprised by his success, but I was surprised we didn’t know about it,” Hernandez said. “I had never even seen a dragon fruit until they started coming to the market…”
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I am super impressed with your set up (both physically and online) and what you have done with dragon fruit. My wife and I are in the early stages of wanting to start a dragon fruit farm in southern Florida. I happen to run across an article by the UofF Extention, “Cost Estimates of Establishing and Producing Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) in South Florida” https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe888
I would love to get your input on creating a business plan for starting a dragon fruit farm. Looking forward to seeing your set up in person one day.