Belgian culture area
The Belgian Texans led the way to agricultural success in South Central Texas by irrigating fields and introducing new crops to the region. They provided the core for the marketing efforts of the Bexar County Truck Growers Association and were founders of the South Texas Vegetable Show.
In the San Antonio region the Belgian farmers have used innovation, imagination, and hard work to make truck farming into a profitable year-round enterprise.
“Human bodies must be fed and clothed, and it’s our responsibility to provide these necessities…It takes people who love the land. It’s hard work, and it takes a lot of man-hours to produce a crop, and it’s something that involves the whole family.” – Henry Van De Walle, 1979
The farm not only provided a living for the family but was also a way of life that included everyone in the family business.
“This was started as a family business, and it’s still very much a family business…My father and uncles always kept us busy doing something on the farm. During the summers, we’d be thinning cucumbers or grading potatoes.” – Elaine Van De Walle, 1996
Over the years, as markets changed and the city of San Antonio grew to encircle the “Belgian Gardens,” they modified their crops and moved their operations. Some, like the Van De Walles, have made the difficult transition from family farm to agribusiness while retaining their family values.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we’re here today because of the integrity and trust established by my grandparents and continued by my father and uncles.” – Elain Van De Walle, 1996