Even though Raleigh, NC-based L&M Cos. Inc. has grown into an international grower-shipper of fruits and vegetables from around the world, make no mistake: This is still a family company.
“All our locations and home office work in unison to support each other,” said Jeff Patterson, who heads L&M’s Texas operations from McAllen. “This is still a family-run business with a deep foundation in its people. L&M Companies provides full vertical integration in farming, packing, logistics and sales solutions; each of our offices specializes in the specific items grown in their regions and provides the expertise to all other offices. This system allows us the ability to help our customers maximize quality and sales across a wide breadth of the freshest produce.”
In Texas, L&M’s program consists of limes, Persian limes, honeydew melons, papayas, tangerines, mangos, lemons, pineapples, watermelons, onions and a full lineup of Texas-grown items that includes cabbage, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.
For the winter season, L&M focuses on carrots, cabbage, watermelon, limes and offshore mangos, and Mr. Patterson said that this year’s crop is first-rate.
“We are anticipating no quality issues,” he said. “The only product running late this season is the Peruvian mangos. Everything else should be seasonally on time. We have good foundations and continue to grow all these programs, and we are expecting good quality on everything.”
L&M grows in the Rio Grande Valley and across the border, with operations in every state in Mexico, Mr. Patterson said.
L&M’s holdings in Texas are growing and now include vegetables, melons, onions and experimental crops.
“It’s an exciting time for us in Texas, it really is,” said Bobby Creel, director of business development. “We’re doing some local-grown projects there, and we’re excited about the future we have in Texas. The nice thing about our company is our portfolios are spread out a little bit. If one of those business units is performing below a certain level maybe you have another business unit that props you up. It’s a balanced portfolio.”
Added Mr. Patterson, “We are all an integral part of the team. We all pull together to supply our customers with the best product and service.”
The L&M Cos. are subdivided into five groups: vegetables; melons; potatoes and onions; apples, pears and cherries; and limes and mangos. Sister companies handle everything from transportation — shipping 35,000 loads annually — to logistics, packing, warehousing and inspecting.