If it sounds like a story that comes from a different century, well, that’s because it sort of does.
It’s the story of Mother Tucker’s Toffee, a business that sells toffee near and far, and is run by 21-year-old entrepreneur Luke Abramson, a lifelong Encinitas resident.
Unlike most of his classmates at La Costa Canyon High, at age 16 Abramson didn’t feel that going to college immediately after high school was the right path for him. Needing an alternate plan, he found it in his own kitchen.
Abramson’s family had a recipe for old-fashioned almond toffee that had been passed down from his great grandmother, who used to sell it to gold miners in Colorado.
“My relatives back in Colorado used to make it and send it to us and I would hide it so no one else could eat it,” Abramson said.
As he has grown up, he’s gotten better at sharing, and now he wants the world to enjoy his great grandma’s toffee — literally.
“(On the website www.mothertuckerstoffee.com), I sell all over the world. One order came from China,” said Abramson, who will be displaying his goods locally next weekend at the 44th Harvest Festival, set for Oct. 21-23 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
But before all of his success, Abramson’s family and friends had some reservations about him trying to start a business as a teenager still in high school.
“At first, they said ‘you don’t want to do this,’ but I was like ‘why not?’” Abramson explained. “The product is very good, everyone loved it, and I had self-confidence as well. I wanted to start my own company. (My success) just comes from hard work and dedication to it.”
The delicious toffee doesn’t hurt either as Mother Tucker’s has created several additional flavors, Pistachio Delight, Sea Salt and Coffee Toffee to complement the original almond.
After getting all of the required permits and FDA approval, Abramson started his business by selling the toffee at various farmers’ markets around the county, including Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe. The business grew quickly, with the need outweighing the output he could produce from his kitchen.
Now, Mother Tucker’s is produced on a larger scale out of an industrial kitchen in Vista, but each batch is still hand crafted by Abramson or one of his five employees. Following the initial cook, the toffee stands for a couple of days to harden.
With the larger production and booming website sales — for individuals as well as weddings and corporate gifts — Abramson is currently working on getting the product into stores such as Whole Foods, Gelson’s and, eventually, Costco.
And, of course, he’ll be at the Harvest Festival, an original art and craft show.
“I’m looking forward to it because it’s the biggest event I will go to,” Abramson said. “There are thousands of people that go there to shop and hopefully there will be some people that own small boutique shops that might want to get it and sell it in their stores.
“(At these events and the farmers’ markets), I like it because I get to talk to every single person and tell them my story.”
Billing itself as the biggest and best holiday art and craft show in San Diego for more than four decades, the Harvest Festival this year will feature more than 300 artists and craftspeople presenting Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, handmade wearable art, photography, ceramics, jewelry, garden decorations, hand-turned wood, children’s toys, unique holiday gifts — like toffee — and more. All products in the show are made in America and chosen by a jury.
Festival attendees can enjoy a complimentary Kid Zone, with hands-on arts and crafts projects provided by Nature of Art and Charity Wings, while Big Mama Sue & Fast Eddie, Fables of the West, Captain Jack Spareribs and the HyJinx Band are also scheduled to perform.
For more information, visit www.harvestfestival.com.