Each day the mission overseers (missionaries, lay helpers, headmen from the resident Indian bands, or members of the soldiers' families) would lead work groups of mission Indians out of the walls to the labores, or farm lands. Farming was the main occupation of the communities in their quest to become self-sufficient. Crops included maize (corn), beans, chile, squash, melons, cotton, and sugar cane. Orchards produced apples, peaches, grapes and other fruits.

Each mission had an acequia. This system of gravity-fed irrigation ditches brought water diverted from the river by means of a dam to the fields and orchards. A portion was brought through the compound. The grist mill at Mission San José was powered by this water.

Food from Mission San Juan Farm
Food harvested from Mission San Juan Farm


back to Mission Community

The Church

The Native People

The Franciscans

The Spaniards - Peninsulares, Criollos, and Mestizos



Caminos Reales

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2202 Roosevelt Avenue

San Antonio, TX 78210


(210) 932-1001
This number will reach the Park's Visitor Center, open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and New Year's Day. To reach Park Headquarters, dial (210) 534-8833. This office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, and closed on all federal holidays.

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