Tight supplies, good quality in store - The Packer

Tight supplies, good quality in store

11/25/2013 12:22:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Courtesy Kingdom Fresh FarmsWorkers pick tomatoes in a greenhouse in Torreon, Mexico, for Donna, Texas-Based Kingdom Fresh Farms Inc. Even greenhouse and shade house tomatoes were affected by the cloudy, rainy weather in Mexico this season.Rains in west Mexico growing areas during September and October will result in tight supplies of many commodities this fall and early winter, but Texas distributors say quality should be good, and they expect a strong holiday season.

Meanwhile, South Texas produce companies are looking forward to completion of the long-awaited Durango-Mazatlan highway and a new produce park in Pharr.

In San Antonio, groundbreaking is expected in December on a major new wholesale produce market.

In mid-November, it was business as usual at the McAllen Produce Terminal Market as distributors prepared for winter marketing, said Carlos Zambito, marketing director.

“Everything is going according to plan,” he said.

Thanks to planning with crops in several growing areas, Fresh Tex Produce LLC, Alamo, Texas, has come through the rains with little disruption, said manager Ryan Wolverton.

“If we get rained out or hit in one area, then we’ve got other areas we can pull product from,” he said. “No matter what the product is, we’ll have a very nice, steady flow of it.”

Limes, roma tomatoes, papayas, chili peppers and honeydew melons are the company’s core products, and Wolverton said he expects good quality on all of them.

At Brandt Produce Inc., Edinburg, Texas, manager Blake Brandt said he expects prices to remain high on chili peppers into December, and he said the lime market should go up after Thanksgiving.

Quality should be OK, he said, adding that he expects a strong holiday season.

At Sunny Produce and Brokerage LLC on the McAllen terminal market, vice president Victor Thomas Myers said chili peppers, including poblanos, serranos, jalapeños and tomatillos, look great.

“We’ve had really good quality all year,” he said.

It was a different story for tomatoes, though, because of late summer rains.

“Everyone’s tomatoes were affected pretty bad,” he said.

At least one grower had to pull out his organic cherry tomatoes and won’t be able to offer that item until February or March, Myers said.

Even greenhouse and shade house product was affected by the cloudy, rainy weather in Mexico, said Dan Edmeier, vice president of sales and marketing for Kingdom Fresh Farms Inc., Donna, Texas.

“Right now, it looks kind of challenging,” he said the first week of November.

Production was off up to 25%, he said.

“The tomatoes are hanging but not turning color,” Edmeier said.

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