My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.
Emily and Lucas Price have a mother of a business plan.
In a time when fermented foods come second only to kale in super food status, brewing and aging tea into kombucha has all the makings of a sure thing. So the St. Catharines teens are producing and selling the health drink in small batches.
The brother and sister behind the local kombucha upstart Two Siblings Naturals aren’t gunning for dominance in the beverage market, however. Emily, who plans to study business at Brock University in two years, and Lucas simply want to pay their way through school and quench their entrepreneurial spirit one bottle of fermented tea at a time.
“We said, ‘If you want to go to university for business, the best experience is life experience,’” their dad, Michael Price, said. “It’s partly a learning experience for all of us. Who’s ever gone through the process of getting a business license? How do you know if you should charge HST?”
It wasn’t a stretch that Emily and Lucas, with the help of Michael and mom Heidi, would hedge their business bets on kombucha. The market for the tea drink is experiencing huge growth and is expected to be worth US$1.8 billion by 2020, according to industry reports.
Kombucha’s growing popularity is steeped in its health benefits, particularly the anti-oxidants, B vitamins and probiotics it’s believed to contain.
The Prices come by their love of healthy food and drink naturally but also by necessity. Emily has colitis, a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the gut. She was diagnosed at three, and rather than rely on drugs to treat symptoms, Michael and Heidi decided to use food as medicine.
Michael is the executive chef at White Oaks Resort and Spa, and grew up the son of health-conscious parents. He jokes he hated every minute of it as a kid, but something stuck and neither he nor Heidi flinched at taking on the tall order of carefully minding — even growing and raising — the food Emily, 16, ate to stay well.
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