Local produce companies saw money, produce go to waste in 2020

Local News

PHARR, Texas (KVEO) — Pharr’s international bridge is a main port of entry for production companies in the Rio Grande Valley, but this year companies saw trade come to a halt. 

Local produce company, Rio Fresh, says produce sales came to a stand-still at the peak of the pandemic.   

“It happened so quickly and a lot of situations we had truckloads of produce on the road, or just arriving at the places and they basically said we can’t do anything with this, everything has shut down here,” said saleswoman Courtney Schuster. 

According to trade expert, Ken Roberts president of World City, what passes through Pharr’s bridge feeds the nation.

“It ranked number one for citrus, for berries, avocado, the category that includes cabbage, so again Pharr which is not the size of New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago is number one for these products that are eaten all over the country,” said Roberts.  

However, produce companies have to plan ahead for their harvest because companies saw money and produce go to waste this year. 

“You already have your growing cost invested, you already have your harvesting cost invested, your over-head cost…so that’s money that for the most part you can’t recover,” said Schuster. 

Looking to 2021, Roberts says that restaurants will no longer be the main buyers.  

“Because what we know is that restaurants and hotels purchase of produce went way down, because they were closed,” said Roberts. “But at the same time those sales went way up for home use, because people were not eating out at restaurants.” 

Schuster says they are planning with caution.  

“It depends on the commodity some things we went more conservative, some things we just planned like it’s a regular year,” said Schuster.  

And are hoping for the best.  

“We are hopeful with the vaccine being rolled out that things will improve and we are just trying to be as careful as we can here at our facility,” said Schuster.  

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