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Archive for the ‘CRYSTAL CITY’ Category

At first glance, this part of south Texas is a fairly unremarkable region. The towns have a few nice old buildings and downtown parks. In fact, this area southwest of San Antonio is known as the “Winter Garden”. Mild conditions mean farmers can grow and harvest spinach throughout the winter and spring. It totals about 20 million pounds, making Texas the nation’s fourth largest spinach provider. The Winter Garden area also produces large quantities of onions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons and cantaloupes.

Del Monte built a local cannery back in the 1940s and it’s still the nation’s biggest. Giant harvesters clip the leaves off the top of each plant, then they let it grow some more. That means farmers can harvest the same field up to three times in one season. Del Monte says this plant can turn out a million cans of spinach a day for 70 to 80 days a year. It takes about 25 acres to produce those million cans a day and Del Monte gets all their spinach from about fifteen local spinach farmers. The company provides the seed, gives advice on land preparation and planting and helps with the harvest.

The annual Crystal City Spinach Festival is held during the second weekend of November. The festival features a spinach cook-off, parade, live Tejano music, carnival, car show, a variety of food and beverage booths, a 5K run and related activities.

What else is going on in Crystal City?

View looking east of the entire Crystal City WWII civilian internment camp. Smaller “E” in center is the Japanese Market. German Section lower left; L-shapped building is German School.” (Photo and caption from UTSA ITC archives.)

View looking east of the entire Crystal City WWII civilian internment camp. Smaller “E” in center is the Japanese Market. German Section lower left; L-shapped building is German School.” (Photo and caption from UTSA ITC archives.)

During World War II, Crystal City was home to the largest alien internment camp housing American civilians of German and Japanese immigrants, and, to a lesser extent, Italian ancestry, as well as enemy aliens of similar backgrounds. However, the majority of internees were South American citizens that were mixed in with a smaller number of German, Italian, and Japanese internees. An annual former internees reunion was initiated in 2002. Zavala County Historical Commission: P.O. Box 616, Crystal City, Texas 78839.

Crystal City Spinach Festival
November (middle)
Telephone #: 830/374-3161
Web Page: www.ccspinachfest.com

Thanks to America’s Heartland for spinach info.

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