While limited volume with winter veggies has been occuring for over a month, crossings are gradually increasing in December. Heaviest volume typically occurs after the first of the year and remains heavy through March. As vegetable volume declines, table grapes typically start crossing the border in April.
Among the larger Mexican produce shipments this time of the year are watermelons, squash, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers. However, it is tomatoes that really get shipments going. Tomatoes, along with green beans, are just getting started.
While overall volume this winter should be fairly normal, there apparently are a lot more Mexican watermelons crossing the border.
A trend produce truckers are likely to notice, especially in coming years, is that produce crossing the border at Nogales is on the decline, while increasing in South Texas.
One reason is that central Mexico grows fresh produce on a year around basis, and most of that product is distributed to the U.S. and Canada through South Texas. As the same time produce grown in the Sinaloa and Sonora ares of West Mexico is grown on a seasonal basis. This product has historically crossed the border through Nogales.
It was more than a decade ago that construction of the long awaited Mazatlan-Durango Highway started. Completion of the road is behind schedule, but expected to be ready in the first half of 2014. West Mexican produce being shipped to the eastern half of the U.S. is expected to be funneled to Texas instead of going through Nogales, using the new 143-mile highway that has 63 tunnels.
Mexican produce at Nogales – grossing about $3500 to Chicago; $5800 to New York City.