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Mexico’s North American Lineup

What it takes to keep exports flowing north
MS_NAmerican Lineup

The top U.S. vegetable import from Mexico is tomatoes (though botanically, it’s a fruit), which represents 29 percent of all vegetable imports from south of the border.

As domestic fresh tomato production has declined in recent decades, Mexico has been filling the gap (though not without controversy and rancor from some U.S. growers). After tomatoes, the next few leading vegetable imports from Mexico include cucumbers, chile peppers, squash, bell peppers, onions, and shallots.

Canada is also a major importer of Mexican tomatoes, and similar to the United States, the other top vegetable imports include both bell and chile peppers as well as cucumbers. Other popular imports include gherkins (pickles), asparagus, papaya, melons, guava, grapefruit, and strawberries.

Another American favorite, watermelon, is grown nearly year-round in Mexico. About 99 percent of the country’s sticky-sweet fruit exports go to the United States—augmenting the U.S.’s already impressive domestic production. The remainder of Mexico’s watermelon shipments go to Japan with a very small amount sent to Germany.

Thanks to Mexico’s lengthy and varied growing season, Losolla says GreenPoint is able to maintain an almost continuous supply of imports. “We operate pretty much 10 months, if not 12 months out of the year,” he says. “We’re closing the gap a little bit more every year. This year, in particular, I think we’re going to have a summer deal, so we’ll be operating pretty much year-round.”

Crops and Growing Regions
An expansive country with varying climates and landscapes, Estados Unidos Mexicanos (the United Mexican States) produces a cornucopia of fresh fruit and vegetables, grown in fields, orchards, shade houses, and greenhouses across the nation.

Just south of the border from San Diego, the westernmost Mexican state of Baja California produces chile peppers, green onions, squash, and tomatoes. On the Pacific Coast, directly south of Nogales, the states of Sonora and Sinaloa are home to sprawling fields, orchards, and acre upon acre of shade houses. This region serves up a gamut of produce from bell and chile peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and eggplant to cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, limes, oranges, and watermelon.

Further south on the Pacific Coast, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Oaxaca, and Chiapas grow a variety of vegetables as well as tropical fruits including pineapples, papaya, and mangos.