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Agriculture Today

Cameras capture days gone by on local farms

Cameras capture days gone by  on local farms
Prime for the picking ... as a film crew sets up cameras for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park’s Spanish Colonial web video at Green Country Farm in June, women and children dressed in colonial attire pick blackberries.

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Wilson County Historical Society
September 21, 2011
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Two area farms, Green Country Farm and Rhew Orchards, are two locations viewers may recognize in videos that depict the life of mission residents during the Spanish Colonial days in the 1700s. The farms are featured in a project commissioned by the National Park Service.

The park service has hired Catherine McCarthy to serve as the project consultant. McCarthy, a seventh-generation Texan, has worked with rangers, educators, and interpreters at national parks and historic locations to develop audio and video tours via her company, Catherine McCarthy Associates Resource Interpretation. She has represented the Daughters of the Republic of Texas as a shrine hostess at the Alamo.

“We are using historical interpretations with people in period costume, [with] volunteer non-professional talent, to tell the story of life at the San Antonio Missions,” McCarthy said.

The topics filmed include “Farming and Acequias,” “New Skills ... New Life,” “The Gristmill,” “A Mission Woman’s Life,” “A Child’s Life in the 1700s,” and “Frontier Franciscan.” McCarthy said that filming took place at the San Antonio missions in August, with the videos to be completed in early fall.

These videos, McCarthy said, “will be available for download on the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park website. Visitors and teachers will be able to view them prior to visiting the park.” Also, the videos “will represent mission life in San Antonio to those who don’t get the chance to come to the historic park, but visit us on our website only.”

One of the two sites, Green Country Farm is located off C.R. 331, 5 miles northeast of Floresville. Jay and Brenda Pullin offer blackberries “ripe for the picking” from mid-May to July. The couple also provide a hay-grazer maze; children work their way through the “living” puzzle.

Jay said a video crew worked with National Park Service Park Ranger Lee Wilder on the project when the crew filmed at his location in mid-June.

The second local farm selected was Rhew Orchards, owned and operated by the Frank Rhew family. The orchard, consisting of peaches and pecans, is located at 762 C.R. 403, off S.H. 97 east of Floresville.

McCarthy explained that Green Country Farm and Rhew Orchards were selected for the project after she visited the Pearl Brewery Market in San Antonio and also via Internet searches for farms near San Antonio.

“They were both great locations and Jay, especially, put up with us for almost the entire day!” McCarthy said. “We have also done filming of stonemasons and the miller at the missions,” she said.

While at the two sites, McCarthy said, “The volunteer talent endured high temperatures and bulky -- but at least cotton -- clothes and nevertheless delivered a bit of Colonial San Antonio historical interpretation for the camera.”

Once the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park’s Spanish Colonial web videos are completed, viewers may visit or visit the park website on Facebook.

What is resource
“Resource interpretation is the art or process of facilitating visitor connections to resource meanings. Since everyone’s experience is different and every location is unique, interpreters employ different tools to help provide more meaningful visitor experiences. When visitors emotionally or intellectually connect to a park, wildlife refuge, or historic site, such as The Alamo, in a way that is meaningful to them, they build a desire to conserve and protect that resource.”
Source: Catherine McCarthy Associates website

Acequia Systems
“When the Spanish arrived for good in 1718, they immediately began constructing a system of irrigation ditches, or acequias, to divert water from the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek to farmlands. ... Eventually five mission complexes were established, linked by seven acequia systems, between the headwaters of the San Antonio River and its confluence with the Medina River. The acequias served as San Antonio’s water system for almost 200 years and were the first municipal water distribution system in the area that became the lower 48 United States.”
Source: The Edwards Aquifer Website by Gregg Eckhardt (

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