Payton Mercer, the first Embry Riddle Dual Enrollment Student to graduate from High School and earn an ERAU Associate’s Degree concurrently, has had quite a journey. At the young age of 17, this Georgia native and Civil Air Patrol Cadet, earned his private pilot’s license while maintaining a 3.5 GPA, and serving as the Vice President of the Effingham County 4-H Club.

Throughout his journey, Payton has funded his many aviation pursuits by selling his homemade jam and barbecue sauce made with locally sourced ingredients within his community.

Payton acquired his knowledge of making these products after helping his mother gift homemade fruit butter and assorted jams to family members at Christmas time.

That experience fueled his interest in starting a business to help pay for flight training. He decided to align the business name with his passion for flight thus, ‘Apples to Airplanes’ was born.

Apples to Airplanes has gained the support of many individuals within Payton’s community.

He markets his deliciously homemade products by word-of-mouth and through social media, which has led to being featured at various local events such as car shows, and even his hometown’s Spring Fling.

Some of his most popular products are G- Force Jelly, Pilots Peppers and Payton’s Warthog Sauce.

For those who would like to support Payton’s efforts, his products can be purchased using PayPal. Orders can be placed via email to: