Young entrepreneur crafts sauces for local farmers market

·2 min read

Sep. 3—JACKSONVILLE — Fifteen-year-old Kingston Peeler sat behind a stand at Jacksonville's weekly farmer's market Saturday with his mom and stepdad. At his table was Peeler's handcrafted barbecue sauces formulated from a recipe he concocted himself.

Peeler has been perfecting his craft since the ripe old age of 10, when he began making barbecue sauce for a 4-H competition.

"There was a grilling competition and one of the categories was 'Make your own barbecue sauce,'" Peeler said. "I just tried experimenting when I got home, and I just started making barbecue sauce and grilled chicken."

He began experimenting and soon thought that he could perhaps sell the sauces to assist his mother with some of his baseball fees. A single mom at the time, Karen Langley said the extra cash really helped.

"When COVID hit, that's when it really started. He wanted to pitch in and help me out because I was in school," Langley said. "So he stepped up and asked if he could start selling it, and then we contacted the farmers market."

He started selling the sauces in 2020 and the following year sales of "Kingston's Barbecue Sauce" really began picking up. A business was born.

"I've always been supportive of him," Langley said. "I figured if you're hands-on, you're staying out of trouble. He's staying out of trouble anyway; he's always been a really good kid."

She was unsure how much time it would take up at first, but when he started winning competitions in 4-H, she began to understand that he was "actually pretty good at this," Langley said.

"It's just the joy that I see in his face when he's doing this. He loves it," Langley said.

The passion and drive Peeler was putting into the business became apparent when he began to ask for a grill and other supplies for Christmas instead of toys or electronics.

Peeler has learned life skills related to financial management that wouldn't be so easily taught in a classroom. Langley said she has seen so much growth and maturity in her son because of it.

"This whole thing kind of changed me, I guess," Peeler said.