By Vanessa Richins
Their business began because of a friendly competition.
Alainia Hagerty-Williams, who grew up on a 300 acre farm, was challenged by her father to see who could grow the best tomatoes. T
he first year she chose to grow one variety. The next year, she tried 10 different heirloom varieties.
In her third year, she was the victim of successful germination, ending up with too many tomato plants for her own garden in Munford, Tennessee. She decided to put her excess bounty up for sale on eBay.
As I’ve said before, eBay is a great source for buying seeds and plants. Her tomato plants all quickly sold. She realized that she had found a new source of income.
As she told the Memphis Commercial Appeal,
“Her inventory grew from hundreds to thousands in the next few years, until the plants began crowding her, and by then Rob, out of their house.
“The house is 1,800 square feet, and the plants were using 1,000 square feet,” she said.”
She and her husband moved the tomato plants into a used greenhouse they bought. It wasn’t an easy task – it wasn’t put together and they had no pictures or instructions for erecting the greenhouse. Nevertheless, they were able to get the job done.
“Today Alainia and her husband, Robert Williams, are raising 7,000 heirloom tomato plants, representing 120 varieties, 20 kinds of peppers, as well a few eggplants, basil and cabbages in a greenhouse next to their house on Munford-Gilt Edge Road.”
She also has her own website now. As of this year, customers can pre-order plants and then visit their business instead of having them shipped.
Have you ever thought of starting a tomato business?