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Student Entrepreneur: Produce Business Crops Up for Plant Science Major

Posted: July 8, 2014

Farming seven acres of land and selling the vegetables at two roadside stands, three grocery stores and a large market may seem like a lot for a student to take on. For Penn State sophomore Alex Cantey, it's business as usual.
As co-owner of T&A Farms, Alex Cante grows produce sold only in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa., at the company's own stands.

As co-owner of T&A Farms, Alex Cante grows produce sold only in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa., at the company's own stands.

As co-owner of T&A Farms, the Lancaster, Pa., native grows tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, zucchini and cucumbers, sold only in his hometown at the company's own stands, at The Corn Wagon market, and at Mussers, John Herrs and Willow Valley stores.

Cantey formed T&A Farms four years ago with his current business partner. In March 2014, they finalized their legal paperwork and officially became T&A Farms LLC.

The Plant Science major attends Penn State's York campus and plans to transfer to University Park, where he hopes to pursue his interest in high-tunnel crop production through research while completing his last two years of school.

This is T&A Farms' first year working with high tunnels -- large plastic structures similar to greenhouses that extend the growing season.

As if attending classes; growing, picking and selling produce; and organizing its movement to different vendors didn't make for a busy enough day, Cantey also works another full-time job at a nearby farm. He has been employed at the farm since he began cutting tobacco at age 12, and he's had an interest in agriculture ever since.

"I like the whole process: watching crops grow, taking care of them, and then picking and selling them," Cantey said. "I feel like I haven't worked a day in my life -- I enjoy it that much. I'm passionate about raising vegetables."

Learn about the Plant Sciences major.