Future of Texas produce is tied to the fate of restaurants

The produce industry in Texas has seen a roller coaster of a year, and farmers in the state are looking to the future. There is another industry that could make or break them.

The fields are very busy for August. It started with dry conditions, then COVID-19, and in July a hurricane brought flooding. Dante Galleazzi, with Texas International Produce Association, states, “Now, our guys are starting to, you know, assess what the front half of 2020 looked like and they’re really starting to plan. We’ve got folks that are starting to plant for the fall season.”

Business is steady for Texas farmers with their neighbors on the other side of the border. “We’re still seeing the imports from Mexico come through, the country is certainly not in an expansion stage,” he notes. “The one thing that we do see is people still need to eat. So, the year-over-year figures are reflecting that.”

Even so, in these though times, many Texas produce farmers are concerned about what lies ahead. Galleazzi points out that it would be a lot easier to predict the future of the produce industry in Texas if they knew about future of the restaurant industry.

With these establishments closing, farmers have something to be concerned about. At one popular, local restaurant, the owner prides himself, as many do, in supporting other local businesses. “We try and buy local as much as we can,” restaurant owner Stephen Marino states. “I would say $1,200 to $1,800 a month all depending on my sales.”

Marino admits times are still tough for himself and others in the business. He adds, “There’s a lot of mom and pops that are struggling right now... We’re just not into full swing, but we are getting by.” He does on to say that in his business, they need farmers around to keep their restaurants going.