509 E. Main St.
P R D U C E
In 1972, Tom Kojis planted his first acre of sweet corn with the help of his father Joe Kojis. Although Tom could not drive a tractor, or physically pick the sweet corn, because of his Cerebral Palsy, he was very involved in the planning of, caring for, and selling of the sweet corn.
As the years went by, Tom planted more and more sweet corn. He hired local high school girls and boys to handpick the corn. Tom had a speech impediment, so he hired help to sell the corn from the back of his Dad’s pickup truck. Tom parked his Dad’s truck two doors west of the Mealy Funeral Home with a big sign that said:
Tom’s youngest brother, John, took over in 1989 when Tom began publishing a weekly newspaper in Waterford. John ran the business with his two children, Elizabeth and Steven. John also continued the family tradition of handpicking the sweet corn. His children helped pick as well as sell, in the same spot west of Mealy Funeral Home. John continued to learn about new, sweeter varieties and changed from yellow to bicolor sweet corn.
In 2001, Tom joined with his brother John to form Kojis Brothers Produce. Tom found a wheelchair tough enough to enable him to assist John in handpicking the corn. They have now diversified to include other produce in addition to sweet corn. In the fall they also provide fall and Halloween decorations.
In 2005 John decided to cut back and Tom has renamed it once again to Kojis Produce.
In 2009 Tom came up with the idea to try Community Supported Agriculture. He had heard it being done by organic farmers so decided to try it with his way of growing. It really worked well. Kojis Produce sold 15 contracts, which easily fed a family of 4. Kojis Produce was also able to donate over 3 tons of fresh vegetables to local food pantries in 2009. In 2010 donations to local food banks jumped to 11 thousand pounds.
Kojis Producer continues to serve their customers in Waterford and the surrounding communities. Tom hopes you will visit their three stands, which carry on the 30+ year tradition of handpicked vegetables for your eating pleasure.
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