About five years ago, Mike Malkush found a jet ski trailer at a yard sale, and it spurred an idea. He thought with a little work, it would be the perfect roadside farm stand for his twin grandsons. Just the year before, they had started with a table with an umbrella on the side of Depot Lane in Cutchogue, selling from their backyard garden.
“We just happened to have extra stuff from our garden and we showed them,” he said. “Why don’t we start a little farm stand? And they got into it.”
Eleven-year-old twin brothers Jacob and Tyler Malkush took it from there and are now in their sixth season selling produce on that converted jet ski trailer they helped to build. The self-serve farm stand in front of their grandparent’s house where they live is stocked most days with tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, flowers and more.
“Most of the time [when people drive by], they are really surprised to see that we are able to do this,” Tyler said. For the boys, this has been something they have done with their grandparents since the age of five and has allowed them to develop a love of gardening.
“Everyday, we probably put out [produce] two to three times a day,” Jacob said, whose favorite part is gardening. “Every two to three weeks, we will put down some compost and mulch so the leaves don’t overgrow. We check every day, and sometimes pick twice a day. If we have a good day, sometimes we won’t open the farm stand to let the [crop] catch up.”
The twins have also experimented with different vegetables over the years to see what will grow best. “We tried lettuce, but it didn’t work out,” Tyler said.
“We also have potatoes that we are trying this year,” Jacob added. “People just want the tomatoes the most.” Other than giving them something to do in the summertime, the money Jacob and Tyler earn from the farm stand goes into an account meant for college.
“They each have their own account at People’s Bank right here in Cutchogue,” their grandfather Mike Malkush said. “It was adorable when they first opened up the account. They saved all the money and deposited it. They got the grand tour of the bank. [The bank] really made a big deal about these two little kids coming in.”
Although they have another seven years until college comes around, right now Jacob wants to work in the Long Island Aquarium and then the Bronx Zoo while Tyler has dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. But for now, their summer days are filled with summer baseball games and snacking off of their crop.
“I love just plain vegetables sometimes,” Tyler said. “When we pick cherry tomatoes, I’ll eat a couple just off the vine. It gives us something fun to do.”
“You guys forgot the one thing that you enjoy the most at the end of every day,” their grandfather said to them.
“Oh yeah,” Tyler added. “Taking the money out.”
Follow them on Instagram or visit them at 890 Depot Lane, Cutchogue