Road shows backbone - The Packer

Road shows backbone

11/22/2013 10:57:00 AM
Mike Hornick

Whatever ax you might have to grind with the devil, should you bump into him on a street corner or at a cocktail party, you probably won’t call him spineless.
Not if you’ve been on a trip through Mexico’s western Sierra Madre, where locals call the Mazatlan to Durango stretch Espinazo del Diablo.
The Devil’s Backbone.
But with the October opening of a new and evidently safe, faster highway, something good can come our way through those mountains: fresh produce.
A system of tunnels and bridges — including the world’s second highest, Baluarte Bridge — is quite an upgrade over the old cliffhanger, hairpin road.
For growers and shippers, it just got easier to bring Sinaloa fruits and vegetables east. If they’re not already doing so, they’re thinking about it.
Mexican officials hope the Mazatlan-Durango Highway and the cargo passing over it — roma tomatoes, for instance — will increase the isolation of local growers of Sierra Madre crops like opium and marijuana.
Now if only the squash and cucumber markets would grow a spine. California was still cutting squash as November started, and the East Coast still had product as Mexico came online.
Prices inched up as the month went on, but shippers in Nogales, Ariz. — where Sonora and Sinaloa crops typically cross — looked to December’s tomato arrival to get movement going.
“Nogales doesn’t seem to work until you start getting more involved with tomatoes,” said Jose Pesqueira, sales manager for Apache Produce Co.



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