Cantaloupe capital

Truck farming once big industry in area

Decades before Grapevine became known as the Christmas Capital of Texas, it had another nickname: "The Cantaloupe Capital of the World."

While not an official designation, Grapevine's earliest title pays homage to the bustling enterprise of growing fruits and vegetables known as truck farming — the dominant form of agriculture in the area, particularly prominent from the 1920s to the 1960s.

The first settlers who made their way to Grapevine and northeast Texas in the 1840s and 1850s were drawn by the availability of open land and the opportunity to earn a living from it.

Cattle, cotton, dairy and truck farming emerged as the most important forms of agriculture in the region.

"This was really based on soil type — the (Dallas-Fort Worth International) Airport property is Blackland Prairie and good for growing cotton," said Sallie Andrews, historic preservation consultant for Grapevine. "The Grapevine Lake area (now underwater) and the land southwest of Grapevine (now Colleyville) was the dairy area; and the land around Hall-Johnson Road and south to Cheek Sparger Road was sandy soil and very good for growing vegetables."

Cotton was king throughout Grapevine's early history, but it was overtaken in the 20th century by dairy and truck farming — and the cantaloupe claimed the crown as the new king.

At one point, more than 25,000 acres of cantaloupes were planted and grown in the Grapevine area. More than 200,000 bushels were produced within a 10-mile radius, according to historical documents.

To celebrate this achievement, the Grapevine Lions Club established the Grapevine Cantaloupe Festival in 1935 and it was an annual event until 1941, drawing attendance of more than 20,000 some years. Growers and buyers from as far away as Kansas City would drive to Grapevine to take part in the festivities.

Besides judging the best loads and bushels of cantaloupes, the festival included a cantaloupe eating contest, a street dance and a pageant to crown the Cantaloupe Festival Queen.

Cantaloupe wasn't the only type of produce grown in Grapevine. Jessie Lou Hall Nelson, daughter of Jess Hall, who owned one of the biggest truck farms in Grapevine, said her father grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, squash and black-eyed peas as well as cantaloupe.

"People would line up for what is now six blocks to buy the fruit and vegetables from Daddy," she said. "He had so many acres of black-eyed peas that we let people come and pick their own," she said.

SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

This rendering shows a view of the downtown residences' central courtyard. (Rendering courtesy city of Southlake)
Council denies request for apartments in Southlake Town Square

A proposal to build hundreds of new apartment units on 7.28 acres in Southlake Town Square was rejected Feb. 18 after numerous concerned residents spoke against the development.

Roll 'N Bowl in Grapevine has closed. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Grapevine sushi restaurant closes on Hall-Johnson

The Roll ‘N Bowl located at 2350 Hall-Johnson Road, Ste. 140, Grapevine, closed in February.

Texas Central officials announced interior plans Feb. 17 for the company's proposed high-speed train connecting Houston and Dallas. The Shinkansen trains in Japan will be customized for Texas with no middle seats and additional legroom, company officials announced. (Courtesy Texas Central)
JUST IN: Texas Central gives first glimpse of high speed train car interior

Texas Central officials announced interior plans Feb. 17 for the company's proposed high-speed train connecting Houston and Dallas.

New Balance Factory Store is set to open in Grapevine Mills mall March 30. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Grapevine Mills adds to athletic footwear selection with New Balance Factory Store

New Balance Factory Store is set to open in Grapevine Mills mall March 30.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
8 candidates file for Grapevine, Colleyville Southlake city races in May election

Southlake voters will have the choice of electing new candidates to city positions during the May 2 election.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
10 file for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Carroll ISD elections

The race is on for open seats on the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD board of trustees

The Barrows Firm is relocating its practice. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Family law and estate planning office to relocate in Southlake

A Southlake law firm is relocating its practice.

Macy’s Brand Experience Officer Rachel Shechtman has brought her expertise to Southlake with Market by Macy's. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
FIRST LOOK: First-of-its-kind shopping concept Market by Macy’s unveiled in Southlake

After founding a themed retail boutique in New York in 2011, Macy’s Brand Experience Officer Rachel Shechtman has brought her expertise to Southlake.

U.S.-based restoration services company Restoration Management Company plans to open its 14th location in Grapevine this March. (Courtesy Restoration Management Company)
Restoration Management Company announces new location in Grapevine

U.S.-based restoration services company Restoration Management Company plans to open its 14th location in Grapevine this March.

Primary Election Guide 2020: Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake sample ballot and key dates for March election

Going into the March primary elections, there are several important dates voters should know.

The city of Colleyville is looking to get in on a workplace trend taking its neighboring cities by storm. (Graphic by Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Colleyville Business Center embraces coworking spaces trend

The city of Colleyville is looking to get in on a workplace trend taking its neighboring cities by storm.

(Graphic by Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper)
11-acre project takes shape in Grapevine: Developer aims to attract more retail options

Construction is moving forward on the first pieces of an estimated $31 million project called Grapevine Station North.

Back to top