'Picking taters': P.E.I. youth run potato stand in Vernon Bridge

·2 min read
Aiden Macguigan, left, and Jax Walsh play baseball together when they're not picking potatoes.  (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)
Aiden Macguigan, left, and Jax Walsh play baseball together when they're not picking potatoes. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

One by one, 14-year-old Jax Walsh and 13-year-old Aiden Macguigan pick potatoes from a field in Vernon Bridge and toss them into a crate.

"I threw a rotten potato at Jax's eye and it exploded all over him — that was pretty funny," said Aiden.

"I don't think he was too happy."

The duo is from Mermaid and when they are not playing baseball together, they're picking potatoes with other Island teens for a stand down the road.

"We're picking taters" said Jax.

"We just team up and work on one crate at a time, and then we just keep going faster and faster."

The potato stand is operated by kids and teenagers, and managed by Emma Visser, 17, and Marianna Visser, 18. The amount of money the workers get paid depends on the number of crates they fill.

"We put them in the crate and see how many crates you can get," said Jax.

"Today we have 10."

Done by lunchtime

On Monday, there were about 10 other workers on site, including 14-year-old Bridget Whalen from Vernon River.

"It's great because like you start at eight in the morning and then you're done by or before lunchtime," she said.

"If you want to be a little lazier that day, then that's OK. But if you want money you're going to have to work for it."

Eventually, the potatoes end up in five-pound bags at a potato stand outside the Gerrit Visser & Sons Potato Warehouse. They're priced at $5 per bag.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

In addition to making a little extra cash, some of the teens are learning life lessons.

"Dirt stains — your knees will be like permanently stained your whole summer," said Bridget.

"If you just look at like this is where your food starts and then you can kind of see the steps to how it gets on your plate. I think you appreciate the people working in agriculture more."

But the job is not without its challenges.

Saving for AirPods

"I'm not a morning guy," said Aiden, who is saving up for back-to-school shopping and some new AirPods.

Jax agrees that "getting up in the morning" is the hardest part.

Still, he said he would recommend it to other kids looking for a summer job.

"You should do it because you make good money and it's not for very long and it doesn't take up your whole summer," said Jax.

"I want to save up for either a four-wheeler or a Sea-Doo."

First, the race is on to fill as many crates as possible before the season runs out.

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