Cody & Kelsie’s Veggy Patch

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Photo Karen Graham. Young entrepreneurs Cody and Kelsie Armstrong at their vegetable stand on County Rd. 21 west of town.

These young siblings started their entreprise at a young age. Kelsie was in Mrs. Fallis’ grade 2 class when her teacher arrived to purchase some produce and found her young student manning the market stall in front of the family home. As would any good teacher, Mrs. Fallis recognized a teachable moment, and commented to Kelsie’s mother that the business would contribute to the development of Kelsie’s math skills. It’s now clear that math was not the only skill developing in this family business.

After seven years, these siblings continue to grow a variety of produce on their family farm, selling to friends and neighbours at their home as well as at the Millbrook Farmers’ Market as well as through Sobey’s Landsdowne location in Peterborough. That’s where Cody has a part time job in the produce department. Currently attending grade 11 at Crestwood Secondary School, Cody managed to work a 35 hour week at the grocery retailer this summer while growing a wide variety of vegetables on five acres at the front of the family farm on County Road 21 just west of Millbrook with the help of his sister. With the help of his father, Cody also built their farm stall which exhibits a flair for marketing as well as construction.

A seasoned pro, Cody explains that this year their crops had plenty of rain, eliminating the four-hour long daily watering sessions required last year. However the crops have been affected by this year’s lower temperatures and he believes that construction on their road has made it more difficult for customers to reach their stall, and has affected sales. At this time of year, corn borer is invading some of their corn crop but Cody makes up for this deficiency by throwing in a few extra cobs with each order. The siblings’ farm gate sales are supplemented by corn and pumpkin sales to his employer.

The pair is quite serious about their farming venture. Kelsie was quick to advise that she bought her brother out of the sheep business this year in order to secure complete control over this part of the business. In grade 8 at Millbrook South Cavan School, Kelsie is not all business. Her explanation of her business plans was delivered between turning cartwheels and playing with some kittens whose mother was killed on the road in front of their home.

Cody has plans to pursue an education at the University of Guelph where he will learn more about the business of agriculture. My bet is he will have a leg up on his classmates, at least in the marketing department. Stop by their farm stall to pick up corn, pumpkins, cucumbers, sunflower heads and become inspired by the youngest growers at the Millbrook Farmers’ Market. KG

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