Some places are just different — there’s a brightness to them, an energy, and they have the power to bring together people of all ages and all walks of life. They’re the lifeblood of our region, and over the year, we’ll be highlighting some of these special places across our service area. We’re calling them Hearts of the Hill Country — because when we’re there, we’re community.
Cross Plants & Produce, nestled off Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, is a sweet escape from the city’s lively surroundings. You’ve probably guessed the market, painted like a red barn, sells local, fresh and high-quality plants and produce, but it has a few surprises, too.
Picnic tables and kids’ play areas dot the property, where you may run into the business’ mascots: Spot, the miniature donkey, and Shorty, the miniature horse. With a fall pumpkin patch, a winter forest of Christmas trees, an annual kids market and numerous gardening classes and events throughout the year, the business has become a family destination.
“It’s just cool seeing a lot of people around pumpkin patch and Christmas tree time,” co-owner Nathan Cross said. “It’s encouraging to see how busy it is around here — all the little kids running around and having a good time.”
Soon after Nathan and his wife, Jennifer, opened their business in 2014, they realized the Cross Plants & Produce experience wasn’t just about providing quality products: It was about the people.
“We spend so much time with our community, and everybody just starts becoming our friends,” Jennifer said. “I love it. We are thankful to be here and that [Kyle] has embraced us.”
While the Crosses credit a large part of their success to their relationship with the community, they also acknowledge the importance of stocking local, seasonal products. Year-round, customers can find meats, dairy, salsas, sauces and apothecary items. Much of the produce arrives in the store the same day it was harvested.
“I think our store is evolving into a little agritourism business as we are growing,” Jennifer said. “It’s a neat place to come, and it draws people to Kyle. It’s not a place you have to come to; our store is a place people want to come.”
Nathan and Jennifer agree that owning a local business is rewarding but difficult. During challenging times, the couple remembers the store is not only letting them live their dreams, it supports local farmers, ranchers and business owners who are fulfilling their dreams, too. For the Crosses, that’s what’s it’s all about – people coming together to nourish their community.
“I think our store is almost a step back in time, and I think we are becoming one of those types of places where everyone is welcome, everyone is at home,” Jennifer said. “This is where people can really connect and remember what the heart of the community is about.”
To learn more about seasonal events or more information about Cross Plants & Produce, visit www.crossplantsandproduce.com.