I’ve worked in Hays County for more than 6 years now, and I particularly work in cities close to IH 35 like San Marcos, Kyle and Buda. I’ve shot the same places over and over again and heard the same stories multiple times. Then every once in a while, I get assigned to shoot something I never knew existed.
It’s a quaint place that is literally right off of Main St. The facility is tucked behind some other storefronts and is situated on an old ranch. I had no idea it was there.
The owner, Robert McGee, lead Brett (the reporter I was working with) and I on a tour of the land and told us the history of the area and the company. He started with an old chuck wagon, which he claimed had been used twice on the Chisholm Trail. He said the cook on the trail would keep a barrel of tomatoes on the chuck wagon and collect wild onions and garlic that grew naturally along the trail to make salsa. Back then it was more like a stew, and they probably didn’t eat it with tortilla chips while watching television.
McGee said the ranch was integral to how the city of Buda got it’s name. According to his story, soon after a young couple settled on the land, the husband died, leaving his wife a young widow. She stayed on the ranch, which became well-known as a place to stop and rest for travelers on the Chisholm Trail. The name Buda derives from the Spanish word for widow – viuda.
A family grave yard rests near the chuck wagon and has grave markers dating back to the mid 1800′s.
The next stop on the tour was the general store, where D.L. Jardine’s sells their products. They also sell them in stores all over the world, but since a flight to Japan wasn’t in the budget, I shot a few jars while we were there.
The tour concluded with a walk-through of their factory, but I was told not to take photos there due to trade secrets.