Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Luscombe.
Leslie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I had been making my jelly and gift baskets on the side while working a full-time job in Dallas. I began participating in craft shows and word of mouth corporate opportunities began to come my way. I was told numerous times I needed to make and sell my jelly professionally. People would say over and over again – you have something, have you thought about, this stuff is amazing….. I heard this for many years before I finally took a leap of faith. I was a single Mom working to be able to keep my son in the best school in Dallas for learning disabilities – Shelton.
I was afraid to take that leap until one day out of the blue my son came to me his junior year saying he didn’t want to make the long drive from our farm in Anna to Dallas anymore and wanted to go to public school in Melissa which is 5 minutes from us. He was well equipped to move forward. I also had been praying that I just couldn’t make that drive anymore and wanted to do something where I would never have to leave the farm! LOL! We both bailed on the lifestyle we were accustomed too and haven’t looked back. Side note… he graduated from Oklahoma State University where he meets his beautiful wife and is now an entrepreneur himself!
In 2007 I was blessed to be able to build a commercial kitchen on my property with a gift basket supply room and a front room for retail that would only be opened by appointment and seasonally. Christmas brings a lot of business to us.
To be truthful, I had dealt with a lack of confidence my whole life, so I built it where we could possibly move into it if I failed! I was nervous and scared at the same time. After all these years cooking my families jelly recipe in my 1910 farmhouse kitchen I knew exactly how I wanted my kitchen designed for canning my jellies. We opened our doors Oct. 2007. At this time I began to expand my line creating new pepper jelly flavors that took me to entering big shows and contests that helped get my products out there. Now having the commercial kitchen built I was ready to go. I started with a booth at the Dallas Gourmet Showroom selling my jellies to buyers who wholesale which landed my products all over the USA!
I won awards repeatedly at a national show called Zestfest which created a lot of publicity for my products and this city/farm girl with a white and red checkered tablecloth. I make fun of that because I had no idea how big this show was or how to set up for a show that hosts up to 4K followers! This was the show I won Best of Show and my Jalapeno Peach took best new product! As I expanded my line each jelly won recognition. People will ask me what is my favorite! My answer, they are my babies, so they all are! Seriously! They all have different applications. I started with my families Jalapeno Jelly recipe. Then I added peaches to make Jalapeno Peach. I then was encouraged to use a neighbors blackberries which birthed Jalapeno Blackberry.
Love! Love, because I love blackberries. I kept hearing I needed something hotter. With that suggestion I created my first Habanero based jelly which soon became my number one seller Sweet Fire Confetti! It does have a kick! Very Cajun with habaneros, red bell pepper, purple onion, and apricots! I tend to ask my regulars what they put it on and the majority reply, “everything”!
My next unexpected turn was Chefs were beginning to want my products in quart size jars. My first Chef Robert Lyford with Patina Green who opened a sandwich shop started using my Jalapeno Peach Jelly on a simple grilled ham and cheddar on local jalapeno cheddar cheese bread. Food Network voted this sandwich Best in Texas! We both were thrilled! On my jar, the serving suggestions read serve on a biscuit or a grilled sandwich. Chef Lyford made it happen! I am now in several restaurants who use my products and referenced as the secret ingredient. Robert teamed up with Luscombe Farm to do cooking classes for several years which he and I both have been too busy to start up again.
My other turn of events on my new journey came by chance. One day my phone started blowing up with photographers wanting to bring their clients to my picturesque farm for photos. I began asking how they had heard about Luscombe Farm. They would reply they had seen an article with pictures taken of my farm in a photographer’s local magazine that had voted the farm as the third best location in Collin County for photography! Thus began a side business where professional photographers make reservations for their photo shoots here at our farm. This is what attracted our largest photo opt with the national magazine Cowboys and Indians.
We have also hosted many charity events in the community, but our largest was Farm Aid where they had a farm to table dinner fundraiser along with entertainment. Lovely time was had by all. We are now holding seasonal farmers market and artisan events in our Historical 4600 sq ft hay barn throughout the year. You can follow us on our FB page Luscombe Farm Special Events and The Market at Luscombe Farm.
Our farm is over a 100 years old. My son is the 5th generation. We recently attended the Heritage Land Ceremony at the Austin Capital in November where we received recognition for our land being in one family for over 100 years. My grandparents had a large working farm their entire lives. My grandfather raised many different crops along with his Black Angus Cattle. My grandmother raised chickens and sold eggs, butter, milk, and cream to local stores. When they passed I inherited the family farmhouse that was built in 1910. Portions of the property date back to the mid 1800’s. We are now known for our jellies, irises, and pecans. My Aunt has over 750 varities and when in bloom we open the farm to the public for our annual Springtime On The Hill. My cousins take care of the 300 pecan trees and sell and crack pecans Nov. – Jan.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Everything was a challenge, but always in a positive way. No one in my circle had ever rolled out a food product, so lot’s of research and finding mentors to help me with so many questions and direction.
On the business side, I have to be honest. I had the best example and teacher, my father, who was a successful entrepreneur himself who sadly passed years before I started this adventure. I watched and learned from him and my mother with the highs and lows that come with being in business for yourself. Making jelly is hard work for most people, but I actually enjoy it. It is rewarding to know someone really likes what you have made and will pay you for it. When the doors continue to open on a continuous base you know you are where you are supposed to be. There is not a morning that I don’t wake up and say thank you. I am truly grateful to be doing what I love.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a fresh batch manufacturer of artisan jellies. We are known for our award-winning jellies. As a company, I am proud of our accomplishments and the loyalty of our customers. I think what sets us apart is we use the freshest ingredients in our production. When in season we buy as much local produce as we can.
What were you like growing up?
Looking back I had a lot of friends and I was always involved in school and church activities such as choir, band, and drill team. I loved to laugh and have fun. I loved to dance and sing. I enjoyed gardening. Something I never remember my friends helping me with was my garden. I had my first garden when I was 12.
My fondest memories growing up was coming to my families farm. I loved gathering the eggs, milking the cows, and harvesting the fruits and vegetables. Always wanted to live on the farm. And I was granted that opportunity in my mid-twenties. Still, love it!
- Address: 8649 Luscombe Farm Drive
Anna, Texas 75409
- Website: www.luscombefarm.com
- Phone: 214.212.0814
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,m