NOGALES, AZ — With some $2.5 billion worth of fruits and vegetables
crossing from Mexico into the United States annually through the Mariposa
port of entry, here, Nogales is the most important entry point along the entire
border for Mexican produce, particularly for products grown in the states of
Sinaloa and Sonora in mainland west Mexico.
But recently, an increasing amount of west Mexico produce has been trucked
eastward to border crossings in South Texas, primarily McAllen, and this year,
a significant number of importers and distributors in Nogales say that they
will be increasing their crossings in McAllen. Several companies that did not
already have offices in McAllen are either opening offices this season or are
contemplating doing so in the near future.
The reason is more and more customers in the Eastern and Midwestern United
States have expressed a desire to load their trucks in McAllen rather than in
Some of the product crossing through Texas is grown in eastern or central
Mexico, but some west Mexico product will also go that direction.
"One of the things that is a little different this year" for Farmer's Best
International LLC, according to Steve Yubetta, vice president of sales, is that
“we have had products all summer and for a little bit of the fall that we have
been crossing through Texas.” For Farmer’s Best that includes Romas grown
in the state of Torreon, about six hours south of McAllen.
Chuck Thomas, president of Thomas Produce Sales Inc., said he is seeing
more Nogales companies crossing product in south Texas and more of them
opening satellite offices there. He expects that to be even more of a factor in
Rene Produce LLC will be opening a logistics operation in McAllen this
season, according to Jose Garcia, who is in charge of grower relations for the
company. A lot of companies are doing that, he said. “It is a reality now.”
Malena Produce Inc. will be increasing the volume of several commodities it
crosses through McAllen, said Gonzalo Avila, vice president and general
“I see McAllen opening up quite a bit,” said Frank Calixtro, a partner in
Calixtro Distributing Inc. He expects to do more buying out of McAllen this
year to satisfy customers “or those Texas brokers will take our business.”
Ciruli Bros. has had a branch operation in McAllen for products from central
Mexico, but Chris Ciruli, chief executive officer, said he expects to see some of
the company’s products from Sinaloa go that way this year, and he expects
that will be the case for some other Nogales distributors.
Bernardi & Associates Inc., seeing more product crossing through south
Texas, has opened a full time office there. But Joe Bernardi, president,
emphasized that companies that are taking product over to south Texas are
not opening up new markets. Those markets were already being supplied.
Rather, they are gaining some freight advantages, he said.