Fourth-generation owner Leslie Luscombe is the first to admit that she had to overcome a lack of self-confidence to successfully operate a north Texas gift basket business and specialty food farm.
Luscombe Farm, located in Anna, Texas, began as just a farm while Leslie Luscombe’s family quietly shared their now award-winning Jalapeno Jelly with others. Leslie continued to share her family’s jelly every year until one day she included it in her gift baskets. (She made gift baskets on the side while working a full-time job.)
It wasn’t long before she began to participate in craft shows and word-of-mouth corporate opportunities started to come her way. For years, she was told she needed to make and sell her jelly professionally but fear always kept her from taking that leap of faith.
However, that leap was finally encouraged by her son, who had learning disabilities. He worked hard at overcoming his disabilities, and, in his junior high years, was ready to transfer from a private school to a public one. In 2007, Leslie and her son made the move with his schooling and her family recipe. She had a commercial kitchen built on the farm with a gift basket supply room and a front room for retail that would first only be opened seasonally and by appointment.
The leap of faith to pursue her own business was monumental for Leslie because she had dealt with a lack of confidence her whole life, but confronting her fear head-on paid off.
“Years of cooking my family’s Jalapeno Jelly recipe—-in my 1910 farmhouse kitchen—- eventually helped me to expand my line by creating new flavors,” says Leslie. “I began to enter each one in big shows and contests.”
The first show this intrepid business owner did was at the Dallas Gourmet Showroom. Leslie succeeded in selling her jellies to buyers wholesale, which landed her products all over America. She won national awards repeatedly, creating publicity for her products. “As I expanded my line, each jelly won recognition,” recalls Leslie. “People often ask me if I have a favorite jelly. They are my babies, so all of them are!”
“There is not a morning that I don’t wake up being grateful for doing what I love.” ~ Leslie Luscombe
With Luscombe Farm growing in popularity on a national scale, the jellies were demanded by chefs across the country. Then, although Luscombe Farm was famous for its jellies, one day it became a hot spot for something entirely different. Because of its location and picturesque landscape, photographers wanted to bring their clients for photo shoots.
“I asked how they heard about Luscombe Farm. They said they had seen an article, with pictures taken of my farm, in a magazine and that the farm was voted as the third best location in Collin County for photography.” Thus began a side business, with professional photographers reserving the farm for their shoots. “That’s what attracted our largest photo opportunity, with the national magazine Cowboys and Indians,” says Leslie.
But the opportunities with jellies and photographers don’t stop there. Luscombe Farm hosts many local charity events and annual artisan fests that include live entertainment.
“This, truly, has been quite a leap of faith,” says Leslie, who had the “best example and teacher” in her father, who was a successful entrepreneur himself. Sadly, he passed away years before she started her adventure. However, Leslie had watched and learned from both him and her mother as they dealt with the highs and lows of being in business for yourself.
Although making jelly is hard work, Leslie says she enjoys it, adding it’s rewarding to know someone really likes what you have made and will pay you for it! “When doors open on a continuous basis, you know you are where you are supposed to be, she says. “There is not a morning that I don’t wake up being grateful for doing what I love.”
Cover photo taken at Luscombe Farm. Courtesy Rhonda Smiga Photography
Bob Valleau is an award-winning Christian writer and author in Dallas, Texas.