Gage's Farm Stand: 13-year-old’s love for homegrown food leads h - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Gage's Farm Stand: 13-year-old’s love for homegrown food leads him to become entrepreneur

Gage's Farm Stand in Palestine (Source: Facebook) Gage's Farm Stand in Palestine (Source: Facebook)

A 13-year-old in Anderson County has big plans for his future, and he's planning to get there in a unique way: by working in the garden and selling what he grows. 

Gage Concilio said he asked his mom four years ago if he could set up a farm stand to sell some of the blueberries members of the family were growing in Palestine. 

"I really needed a summer job, but I was too young to get a real one. I wanted one and figured that would be a way to do it. My mom thought it was a good idea, so she said OK," Gage said.

PHOTOS: Gage's Farm Stand earns money for college while feeding East Texans fresh produce

Gage said as it progressed, some of the produce he sold was from things they grew in their yard, like tomatoes and figs. He has expanded quite a bit since that first year, however. He was able to do that, he says, with the help of some adults along the way.

"Mr. John Rhone, who has the Rhone Funeral Home, has done so much for us. He really saved us. I had been buying patty squash and potatoes from him, but when they moved off their property, he said 'Why don't you put your garden out here?' So we did," Gage said.

Now he is able to grow different types of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and zucchini, red potatoes, luffa gourds, and something quite different.

"We're trying cucamelons. They are about the size of a grape, look like a watermelon, and taste like a cucumber," he explained. "We just got the first one off the plant this week."

Gage gets loads of watermelons from Grapeland, where mom Dana is from. He said he has sold five loads of the melons already this summer.

Gage also has blueberries which he gets from Lake Creek Farms in Montalba, which look fat and healthy, and taste super sweet.

"I think they are doing so well this year because of the rain, and they started so early. Watermelons started early, too, this year," he said.

Gage has access to his grandmother's fig tree, and picks trays of them to sell at the stand, while they last.

"People contact me on my Facebook page and ask me to save them for them a lot, so I run out pretty fast some days," he said. "Pretty much everyone in our family has a fig tree in their yard and they let me pick. I have to wear long sleeves and a mask when I do, because I'm allergic to the leaves."

Gage said that not only do the watermelons sell well, but he also sells out of figs and blueberries frequently. Peppers are also a popular item for him.

"I had a bunch of peppers earlier today, but as you can see I'm already out of them. Those orange peppers really draw people in when they drive by," Gage said, which attests to his success as a farmer and seller to East Texans who love fresh, local produce.

Gage is doing all of this growing, picking, and selling to save money for something big.

"I want to study mechanical engineering at UCLA, or computer engineering," he said. "I'm saving money for that."

He said he's also saving for a new computer.

Gage works hard when it comes to growing his produce and selling it at the farm stand, but that's not the only place he excels. 

Gage is a straight-A student and will be a freshman at Palestine High School in the fall. During middle school, he was on the robotics team, which ended up competing on the national level.

"I just went to Iowa with the team for the national robotics championship. I got in a little late, so I had to join a team that had already started a project. Next year I'll be able to have my own robot," he said with a smile on his face. "Every year they come out with a new challenge, so I already have some ideas about how I will do it."

Gage's Farm Stand's is located at 501 N. Mallard St., in front of an old burger drive-in. He has some hand-painted signs out to make it easy to spot him. He also has a Facebook page.

Gage's mom Dana (LAST NAME?) said that he will be at Sadlers in Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon, then will be at his location on Mallard Street on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. or sellout, if that comes first, through July 4.

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