( Photo courtesy Alejandro Duarte; Source Unsplash )

Texas is taking a big share of Mexican import growth in recent years.

Avocados, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,  and celery are some of the Mexican commodities with volume gains through Texas, said Tommy Wilkins, director of sales for Donna-based Grow Farms Texas.

“I think it is in the infancy of where it is going,” Wilkins said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show 2019 crossings of Mexican open field tomatoes were twice as high in Pharr, Texas, compared with Nogales, Ariz., and crossings of Mexican adapted environment-grown tomatoes were just 9% less in Pharr than in Nogales.

The proximity of South Texas distribution to population centers makes it an efficient place for loading to shipments to destinations markets all over the country.

In the next five to 10 years, Wilkins thinks avocados will continue to grow, and tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers will continue to be substantial.

“We have to be smart to not flood the market; that doesn’t help anybody,” Wilkins said. 

The entire Mexican program of produce shipments to the U.S. will continue to expand, and will include items such as broccoli, cauliflower, celery and lettuce.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistics, the market shares for U.S. ports of entry for select commodities were:

  • Avocados: Nogales, Ariz., 2%; Pharr, Texas, 45%; Tampa, Fla. (boat), 1%; Laredo, Texas, 51%, Otay Mesa, Calif., 1%; Progreso, Texas ,1%.
  • Cauliflower: Pharr, Texas, 58%; Otay Mesa, Calif., 9%; Rio Grande City, Texas, 26%; Nogales, Ariz., 7%.
  • Watermelon: Progreso, Texas, 21%; Rio Grande City, Texas, 3%;  Pharr, Texas, 1%; Nogales, Ariz, 72%.

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