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McAllen noted for its market variety

McAllen’s proximity to growing regions on both sides of the border ensures availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, available to wholesalers and retailers.

For direct sales from growers, consumers can shop at farmers markets throughout the city. The McAllen Farmers Market was founded in 2010 with the idea of emphasizing and offering locally grown products to health-conscious consumers.

The Grow’n Growers Farmers Market also features just-picked, locally grown produce as well as prepared foods, meats, and organic beauty products. And farms throughout the area connect with hungry shoppers through Local Harvest to drop boxes of fresh, often organic, produce at pre-determined locations.

For wholesalers, the McAllen Produce Terminal Market, also known as the Central de Abastos (like its counterpart in San Antonio, which is operated by the same company, the Abasto Corporation), is a market of size and scope.

Situated on 42 acres on the city’s south side, it is one of only three terminal markets in the entire state. More than 90 businesses have set up shop there, 80 percent of which specialize in fresh produce.

Launched in 1992 by the Abasto Corporation, the McAllen market features five buildings with nearly 300,000 square feet of warehouse space. Individual modules range in size from 1,400 to 20,000 square feet, more than enough space to accommodate the 200-plus trucks.

And since the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and the Anzalduas International Bridge are both just a short drive away, deliveries and pickups are easy and, for the most part, seamless. But perhaps the most important aspect is the state-of-the-art technology throughout the facility, which ensures the cold chain remains intact.

The proliferation of cold storage facilities in and around McAllen continues at a rapid pace, as more companies choose the convenience of a location in the Valley.

According to Art Salinas, sales manager at Pharr-based Bonanza 2001, a grower-shipper specializing in Roma tomatoes, the availability of space is shrinking.

“The amount of cold storage warehouses in the area is just amazing,” he said. “Businesses are opening here, and they need cold storage. Now, we’re building our own warehouse because we need the space.”

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.