By Jessica Domel
You never know what you’re going to find on the back roads of Texas. I’ve lived in this state my entire life, and every time we go on a trip, I find something new at which to marvel. Sometimes I feel like a little kid because I get so excited learning about the different foods grown in the Lone Star State.
For example, did you know there’s a business in Carrizo Springs called Dixondale Farms that grows onion plants? Not onions, onion plants. They put the onion seed in the ground and let it mature to a certain point, and then they pull it up and send it to another state to finish off the growing process. This makes it easier for people in other states who don’t have the long growing season like we have here in Texas. How cool is that?
Near Carrizo Springs, there’s a town called Crystal City that is apparently the spinach capital of the world. There’s even a Popeye statue near downtown to commemorate the crop. I couldn’t snag any photos of spinach on our last trip. It’s harvested in November.
They call the area near Carrizo Springs the Winter Garden. I asked one of our farmer members down there why, and he said it’s because their temperatures are perfect for growing items you’d find in your winter garden like beets, melons, cabbage and onions.
If you go a little further south the Rio Grande Valley, there are growers who grow onions until they’re completely mature. This is what they look like as they’re popping up out of the ground.
Melons are also grown in the Valley. I asked one of our member farmers down there to pull over so I could grab this photo. I had never seen little tents like these to protect melons. Aren’t they cool?
I haven’t made my way to Fredericksburg yet to see the peaches, but I’ll be sure to take plenty of pictures when I’m there.
I’ve seen a partial pecan harvest near Gatesville, and I must have told everyone I know about the shaker that makes the nuts fall out of the trees.
Although my family has been farming for longer than I’ve been alive, I continue to be amazed by the produce grown here in the Lone Star State. I know I haven’t even reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mentioning all of the unique crops grown here, but I thought I’d share my most recent adventures with you in the event that you, too, would be as amazed as I am.
What’s your favorite specialty crop grown in Texas?