In honor of National Farmers’ Market Week, Go Healthy Houston is highlighting the farmers that make Get Moving Houston Farmers’ Market such a great success. Mr. Jim Hanka has been providing locally, grown produce to Houston communities since the early days of the market’s inception.
Mr. Hanka comes from a long lineage of hardworking farmers in the Houston area. Hanka’s ancestors first immigrated to Houston from Czechoslovakia in 1908. Enchanted by stories of the Wild West and Texas cowboys, Jim’s great-great grandfather, Wenzel Hanka, purchased land and a few head of beef cattle and relocated himself and his wife to Houston. When Wenzel arrived, he quickly discovered that his “beef cattle” were actually dairy cows. Not to be discouraged, Wenzel saw the misfortune as an opportunity and turned his cattle business into a fruitful dairy farm.
Jim’s father and grandfather both carried on the family business and continued to farm in and around the Houston area. In the 1970s, Vietnamese refugees began relocating to Houston, and Jim’s father noticed that many of the plants and vegetables that this population used for cooking were being shipped all the way from California. Just as enterprising as his grandfather before him, Jim Sr, saw this as his chance to help the community while simultaneously expanding his business. He became the first successful Asian vegetable producer in Texas.
In true Hanka-spirit, Jim Jr, continues to help the Houston community by selling fresh produce at reasonable prices at the Get Moving Houston Farmers’ Markets. The City of Houston Health Department and Go Healthy Houston team are grateful for his hard work these past four years and hope to continue working with him in the future.