NEWBURY — A food cart under a large umbrella by a public beach at a busy New Hampshire lake is usually the sign of a fried food dealer, often a cook making and selling sausage and cheesesteak sandwiches.
But under the green umbrella next to the Newbury Town Beach at the foot of Lake Sunapee are two 10-year-old fraternal twins, Lucy and Blake Licata, running a different kind of food stand which offers a healthier lunch.
The twins, who are from Hopkinton and attend the Maple Street School, run Blake and Lucy's Lunchbox. On the menu are chicken salad sandwiches, bags of vegetable chips and kettle corn, fruits and vegetables, and bottled water (free), and just one item that could be considered a diet-buster — freshly made cookies.
"We felt like we had to give people one goodie in the mix," said the twins' mother, Amy Blake Licata, who helps her daughters make the sandwiches at her family's company, Blake's Natural Foods in Concord.
The girls became outdoor food retailers last summer, opening their business with some help from their parents.
"We used to have a lemonade stand, and we wanted to do something more than that," said Lucy.
"We wanted to offer something better to eat, lunches need to be better," Blake added.
They offer bag lunches for $5 that include apple slices, vegetable chips, free water, and a cookie. They offer the items and vegetables as side items as well.
They've been a great success so far, as patrons kept them busy over the weekend as they do every weekend, they said. They've also begun expanding their business, selling larger lunch orders for Hopkinton sports teams, and this fall, they will begin selling large lunch orders to an area private school, they said.
They've had a major capital improvement since last summer, when they used coolers to store their freshly made sandwiches. The twins' mother and their father, Chris Licata, who is the manager of Blake's Natural Foods, chipped in with the girls' grandparents to buy them a full food cart for this summer.
"They've had some investors," Chris Licata says with a chuckle. "We thought it was a productive birthday present."
The girls, who said they may want to go into their family's business when they get older, are running the stand to make money and to provide a healthy food alternative, but they have another worthy goal. A portion of what they make goes to The Molly Fund, a New Hampshire charity that helps children with cancer.
Right now they just like the fun of learning about running a business, and providing a healthier lunch alternative.
"Every time we sell a lunch, we love getting compliments, and then I love jumping in the lake when we're done," Lucy said.
Blake likes the appreciation they receive, such as the more than 100 'likes' they've received on their Facebook page, Blake-and-Lucys-Lunchbox.
"I like when there's a line of customers, and then they tell us they have heard of us," she said.