Thirteen-year-old Ahrhyan Akins doesn’t much like tomatoes, but she sure likes selling them.
Encouraged by her father, Tim Akins, to grow and sell them to make a little extra cash, the rising Davis Middle School eighth grader has made about $1,000 this summer, mostly peddling tomatoes to her father’s friends.
She has expanded her selling efforts, setting up a booth the past two weeks from the bed of her father’s 1918 Ford Model-T truck at the Flowery Branch Farmer’s Market on West Pine Street. She also plans to sell at a market in Dawsonville on Saturday.
“I didn’t like any of this at first,” Ahrhyan said, while watching for customers at the farmer’s market on Thursday, Aug. 21. “I hated it so much. Nothing was happening (with the tomato plants). But once they started (ripening), they all started turning and I had to pick them every two days.”
And now, she has a bumper crop. She said she had picked more than 200 tomatoes earlier in the week.
She recalls her father first approaching her about the idea. At the time, she thought it “was kind of random” and that “it was going to be like three or four tomato plants. But then it turned into 40.”
“It was kind a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Tim Akins said.
He said he built her a 100-foot-by-15-foot raised garden bed “with some pretty dirt,” at their home in North Gwinnett, at the Hall County line near Friendship Road.
“And she went out there and got to working,” Tim Akins said. “I did the dirt work. She did about everything after that.”
Plump, bright red tomatoes are on display in her booth, but when asked about her own tastes, Ahrhyan said she eats, “fried green tomatoes — that’s about it.”
Through her efforts this summer, she hopes to raise $2,000.
“It looks like a reasonable objective for her,” Tim Akins said.
She has splurged on a few things, including a bicycle, but otherwise, she is saving up for a car.
And she doesn’t plan to quit the tomato business after this summer ends.
“We’re planning on doing 60 (plants) next year,” Ahrhyan said.