LYFORD, TEXAS (ValleyCentral) — As 50 mph+ winds pushed through the Rio Grande Valley last week, a farmer said a decent portion of his crops were destroyed.
Cruz Salinas, owner of Salinas Family Farm told ValleyCentral that growing fruits and vegetables is “like going to Las Vegas and rolling the dice.” He never knows when he’s going to lose or win when it comes to betting against mother nature.
This time around though, mother nature got the best of Salinas and his farm as he said it “beat” his strawberry plants to “death.”
Salinas Family Farm uses sand-based soil, so when those winds powered through the RGV, the sand blasted their fruit and plants in turn leaving their crops battered and bruised.
“We lost quite a bit. We won’t be picking strawberries for almost two weeks. We were picking strawberries every two to three days, so we normally have 50 to 60 people out here picking berries, so financially, it’s a big loss,” added Salinas.
Salinas also stated there is no source of economic support or insurance available for smaller acre farms.
With economic inflation, Salinas said it makes getting back on top much harder. “Everything that we purchase is two times, three times higher than it was prior, so when we have stuff like this, it really hurts.”
Normally, the Salinas Family Farm is able to prepare with “windbreakers” before the winds move through, but with the prices being much higher than normal, Salinas said, “you just take the hit.”
The process of maintaining some of the crops that were blasted with sand is blowing off each strawberry, making sure there is little to no sand left.
Salinas and his wife, Joyce told ValleyCentral they are picking up the pieces little by little right, but hope to open to the public again for picking in two weeks.
When the farm does open back up for picking, Salinas said he wants everyone to understand the benefits of shopping local rather than from a main chain supplier.
“When we harvest, we either harvest the night before or the morning of the market, so you’re getting a food or vegetable that is literally ripe,” commented Salinas.
According to The Beet, fruits and vegetables begin losing their nutrients within 24 hours of being harvested.
Salinas said the produce you find in grocery stores is typically stored for weeks. “They’re gassed and they’re sold. That doesn’t mean they don’t taste good, but they’ve got that extra added insecticide or pesticide or herbicide that is normally not used at a local level.”
The goal of the Salinas Family Farm is to serve the freshest, most nutritious food from farm to table and so far, for seven years, they’ve been able to meet that goal.
On the local level, Salinas said when you shop from small farmers, you’re most likely giving to other vendors, too.
For the Salinas Family Farm, it’s just he and his wife doing most of the work, so they seek outside help from local businesses. By buying locally, you’re also supporting other locals, according to Salinas. “There’s a boost in the local economy.”
You can find the Salinas Family Farm at the Harlingen Farmers Market on Saturdays.
ValleyCentral will have information when the Salinas Family Farm reopens its strawberry fields to the public.