Page 50 - December2018
P. 50

Lone Star State wears many hats, from global hub to farm stand down the road.
uring this time of the year in the Lone Star State, Texas growers harvest and ship melons, citrus and other crops to supermarkets throughout the Eastern half of the country.
During an even colder season, Texas is the major conduit for fruits and vegetables from Mexico.
But even in this global hub, many residents prefer to Go Texan with fruits and vegetables grown just down the road.
 ese markets, while di erent, are not always contradictory. Ship- pers commonly serve them with produce from diverse areas within and just south of the state.
“Quite a few of the growers in Texas also have relationships with the growers in Mexico,” says Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association, Mission, TX. “It creates a one-stop shop for buyers to purchase produce in McAllen.  ey can get produce from Mexico, from Texas, local produce and tropical produce.”
 e Texas International Produce Association, founded more than 75 years ago to help grow the state’s produce industry, took on the added mission in 2012 of facilitating the importation and marketing of fruits and vegetables grown outside of the country and brought into
the U.S. through Texas ports of entry.
Although there can be market con icts between Texas- and Mexi-
co-grown crops, relationships developed over decades of free trade have largely diminished the importance of the border.
“In 2016, two-thirds of all the fresh produce sold in Texas was grown in Mexico,” says Galeazzi. “We also deal with people who grow in Texas. Texas grows $900 million of 60 di erent produce items on 117,000 acres.  ere are 26,000 acres of watermelons, and 22,000 acres of grapefruit out of a total of 29,000 acres of citrus.”
J & D Produce, a grower-shipper in the Rio Grande Valley and named for Jimmy and Diane Bassetti, has been supplying customers in the northeastern U.S. with kale in the winter months for more than a quarter century.
“Probably 20 percent of what we grow stays in the state, and the other 80 percent goes out of the state,” says Je  Brechler, sales and production representative at J & D Produce, Edinburg, TX. “We ship to a mix of wholesale terminal markets and retail distribution centers and stay pretty much east of the Mississippi.”
Texas plays such a pivotal role in the produce supply system that heavy rains early this fall could impact the national availability and schedule of greens, citrus and onions.
“I was speaking with one of our South Texas growers, and he said
Many Things to Many People

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