“Our vision was a place that kind of felt like a little farm,” said Jennifer Cross, who owns the venture with her husband, Nathan.
The idea for Cross Plants and Produce was born years earlier just outside of Washington, D.C., where the Crosses met, but it was not until they moved to Texas, where Jennifer’s family has lived since 1986, that they decided to try it.
“We decided to do it because we would rather have a failure than a regret when we are old,” Jennifer said.
Today, Cross Plants and Produce is one of the few independent nurseries in the area, which the Crosses attribute to the quality of their stock; the diversity of the things sold; their seasonal appeal; and events, such as hosting field trips and classes on cooking and gardening.
All the plants sold at Cross Plants come from Texas, which means they are already acclimated and more likely to succeed.
“We hear over and over—man, all my plants died except yours,” she said.
The Crosses also offer a personal touch.
“We call each other ‘plant coach,’ Jennifer said. “We tell people, too, ‘If you’re not a good gardener, you of all people should come to a local nursery because we can steer you in the right direction.’”
Inside the little red house that serves as the headquarters, the Crosses also sell, year-round, a variety of local products such as jam, coffee, pickles, fresh meat and dairy items.
“A lot of the folks that we buy from are just little mom and pop shops like us—we don’t buy from people that are too big,” Nathan said.
Halloween is the busiest time at Cross Plants and Produce, with the roomy property transformed into a sea of orange pumpkins. Almost as soon as Halloween is over the Crosses start preparing for the Christmas season, when they sell trees that they name for fallen soldiers and first responders, host Santa Claus and run a kids entrepreneur market.
There are two more attractions at Cross Plants and Produce—a mini-horse named Shorty and a mini-donkey named Spot. When the business started, city ordinance did not technically allow the animals, but through lobbying efforts by the Crosses and their customers, the law was changed.
“It’s a labor of love,” Nathan said.
Cross Plants and Produce
705 N. Hwy. 81, Kyle
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.