Josh Hochschuler’s Jewish life: Sweet and blossoming
Josh Hochschuler has joined with partners in Green Acres Nursery & Supply of Texas, already open in Irving and Melissa with more to come.

By Deb Silverthorn

Josh Hochschuler’s professional life has for many years been a sweet one. Now he is blossoming with success. The founder of Talenti Gelato and now co-founder of Green Acres Nursery & Supply, the Dallas native is enjoying the fruits of all his labor.

Hochschuler was born in Wichita Falls; his father was then a U.S. Air Force surgeon. As a young child, Hochschuler moved with his family to Dallas. He is the son of Carole and Norman Silverman and Dr. Stephen and Kim Hochschuler, and brother of Kim (Merrill) Kaliser, Adam (Dave Dahn) Hochschuler and Jessica Hochschuler.

He was raised at Temple Shalom. His participation in the 1989 Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Israel Summer Teen Tour forever impacted Hochschuler’s Jewish connection.

“I fell in love with Israel, with Jews, with being Jewish and I was inspired,” he said. “I came home wanting to learn more about everything Jewish.”

Hochschuler’s friend then and now, Ari Feinstein, mentioned that his parents, Reesa and Dr. David Feinstein, had met a rabbi “with a black hat and a long beard,” reflecting on the first impression of Rabbi Mendel Dubrawsky, newly arrived in Dallas.

“We met Rabbi Dubrawsky and that was the beginning of a whole new world of learning for me,” said Hochschuler. “I grew my Yiddishkeit, I was enamored with everything Jewish and from my formative teen years, for 34 years, that enthusiasm has continued to grow.”

The Richardson High School graduate went to Boston University to study business administration and finance. He connected with Chabad and its director, Rabbi Shmuel Posner, who continued to strengthen Hochschuler’s Jewish connections.

Having made friends from many countries, after graduating college, Hochschuler decided to immerse himself in the Latin culture he’d fallen for. In 1995, he bought a one-way ticket and — with little money, and no Spanish language skills — moved to Argentina.

His first connections, even in Buenos Aires? Chabad and Rabbi Yaakov Birman.

“Chabad is always my first go-to. That’s where I know there are friends,” said Hochschuler, who has wonderful memories of his five years there when he worked for a bank. “It was a very prosperous time, really the golden days in every way. I’ve had a love affair with Argentina ever since.”

In 2001, with nieces and nephews being born and the loss of a grandmother, it was time to return to the States. The job he “had” in Boston disappeared overnight with a drastic drop in the economy and then 9/11.

Hochschuler returned to Dallas. Wanting to bring some of the best of what he loved in Argentina, he decided gelato would be the link. He returned to Argentina to apprentice and, from 2003 to 2005, just north of Uptown Dallas he opened the Talenti Gelato shop.

Selling coffee, pastries and his sweet gelato, Hochschuler soon became sweet on his pastry chef, Lindsay Eltis, and they began dating.

Hochschuler loved gelato and loved the business, but in planning a family of his own, he wanted to find a way to combine them in a manner that wouldn’t hold him to the brick and mortar so many nights and weekends. Eatzi’s was carrying Talenti in styrofoam pints. After seeing a transparent gelato display case in Italy calling attention to all of the delicious ingredients, Hochschuler knew he wanted to replicate that for his product and  distribute it in stores.

Hochschuler sold furniture, maxed out credit cards, did whatever he had to during a couple of difficult years, but he never gave up.

In 2005, Rabbi Dubrawsky married the couple, who had decided a more observant Jewish life was what they wanted for themselves and their future family. That family now includes sons Jonah, Caleb and Liam and daughters Hannah and Ava. All the children attend Akiba Yavneh Academy.

Hochschuler ultimately partnered with Steve Gill and Eddie Phillips, of blessed memory. In 2007, Talenti had $1 million in sales. In 2014, Hochschuler and Gill sold the business to Unilever and agreed to run it for two more years, growing the business to $250 million in sales. Hochschuler remained with Unilever as a consultant from 2016 to 2019 before turning his dedication elsewhere.

During the pandemic, Hochschuler spent time grilling and gardening at the family ranch in Celina. Gill and his brother Mark owned a chain of Green Acres Nurseries in California and now, Hochschuler has partnered with the brothers to bring Green Acres Nursery & Supply to the Metroplex. The first store, in Irving, opened in March 2023; a second opened in April in Melissa. A third is planned for Frisco with more to come. Since late 2022, they also own Hughes Plant Farm in Tyler, that store retaining its name.

Still with his hands in the snack “jar,” Hochschuler is involved with Low and Slow Hickory Smoked Snacks (featured in the July 13, 2023, edition of the TJP). He is also a partner in Baris frozen white and dark chocolate-covered raspberries, farmed in Bariloche, Argentina — planning to again bring the taste and beauty of that place, so special to him, Stateside.

Hochschuler, a current member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, was AYA board chair from 2017 to 2020 and has also served the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and the scholarship committee of Jewish Children’s Regional Service. His heart, with great regard, always comes back to Chabad of Dallas and the sense of a mutual admiration society is clear.

“Josh, Lindsay and their children live most purposeful, meaningful lives and they are truly rich beyond any dollar amount, rich in the most wonderful neshamas,” said Rabbi Dubrawsky. ”The Hochschulers are always loyal and devoted, wanting to learn and to grow and connect with the deepest insight for spirituality.

“What is ‘right’ in life is what governs Josh and what he has given, in tzedakah and effort and time, from the energy of his whole family,” he added, “is of the greatest gifts.”

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