South of Uvalde: Crystal City
As US-83 continues south from Uvalde, the highway descends farther onto the mostly flat Rio Grande Plain, entering a subtropical zone of seemingly endless chaparral. Amidst this scrubby “brush country”—marked by a mixture of thorny cacti, mesquite, dwarf oak, black bush, and huisache—spread large irrigated farms known as the “Winter Garden of Texas” for the bounty of spinach and citrus crops they produce. Nearly 40 miles south of Uvalde sits Crystal City (pop. 7,386), the Zavala County seat and self-proclaimed “Spinach Capital of the World,” home to a pair of photo-friendly statues of the world’s most famous spinach lover: Popeye. One stands on an island in the middle of the main street, Veterans Avenue. The other, older statue is a block away, in front of the City Hall.