South Charlotte

2 kids (and a garden) go into business in Mint Hill

Tuesday afternoon, Caroline and Cate Cambruzzi and their yellow lab, Rudy, set up shop in their Mint Hill front yard. Instead of offering lemonade, the sisters sold tomatoes they raised in their backyard garden.

At two for $1, it was probably the best produce deal in town that day.

In about an hour and a half, they made $13 (that's 26 tomatoes) and called it a day.

“When they sold their first tomato, they flew in the house with the $1 bill and you would have thought it was $1 million. When they finished selling, Caroline wanted to go water the plants again so the tomatoes would hurry and grow and they could go back out and sell some more,” said their mother, Jennifer Cambruzzi.

More should ripen this weekend, and she expects the girls and their dog will be back out in their front yard with more tomatoes for sale early in the week.

The tomato enterprise started in March when Andy Cambruzzi helped his daughters plant seven Better Boy tomato plants. It was Caroline's job to tend them.

The 6-year-old monitored them each day and helped her dad cover them several times when frost threatened.

Taking her assigned chore seriously, Caroline continued checking on the plants each morning and watered them when needed.

Sometimes Cate, 4, would help, but Andy Cambruzzi said it was more efficient when Carolina watered them alone. When watering was a joint effort, the sisters usually ended up with more water on themselves than the plants.

Finally, the first tomatoes were ready to pick.

When they saw how many they had grown, the sisters devised a plan to get rid of the surplus produce. They talked their dad into helping them set up a tomato stand.

What do they expect to do with their newfound wealth?

Being prudent business women and good citizens, they'll sock away some in their piggy banks and put a bill or two in the offering plate at St. Luke Catholic Church

But they do plan on one indulgence.

“They want to go get ice cream,” said Jennifer Cambruzzi. “When we go to Carolina Creamery, they are usually only allowed to get one plain scoop. They want to go get ice cream, but they want to add whipped cream and sprinkles.”