Bridges Produce’s Fall 2020 Mexican season has begun with new crop organic items shipping out of Nogales, AZ. Bridges' Mexican line-up is very robust with strong volumes expected and start dates are on schedule. Slicer Cucumbers are going strong, shipping from two grower partners with English Cucumbers now available as well. Rico Farms label Zucchini and Yellow Squash will start the week of September 21st with increasing volumes and multiple plantings throughout the Fall and Winter. Eggplant, Hard Squash, Hot Peppers, Bell Peppers, and Melons will also be available during the season.
“One thing that feels different this season is increased customer demand for locked-in program volumes and pricing,” said Oscar Trujillo Category Manager for Bridges Mexican program. “With the challenges of Covid-19 both on the demand and supply side, people are feeling a little bit more fragile and are looking for ways to secure supplies. These commitments feel like a good thing, providing stability for both ends of the supply chain. Due to this shift open market buys might not be as prevalent or frequent as other seasons.”
To ensure the continuity that will be needed to satisfy customers, Bridges grower partner Rico Farms has further developed their already diligent safety plans to mitigate the Covid-19 risks as much as possible.
With up to 600 individuals living and working onsite during peak season keeping their staff healthy is paramount to keeping the farm and packing shed running smoothly.
Rico Farms is Fair Trade Certified which has helped provide additional resources to the workers during this challenging time. Preventative care kits which included vitamins and thermometers were provided for the workers and their families to keep them healthy while they were away from the farm and all employees from last season were given food vouchers to be used for groceries in their home communities.
During the summer months, as they prepared for the upcoming season, Rico Farms continued to make advancements at their new onsite bioFactory. “We are continuously improving our Biofertilizer, by reinforcing our microbiology and adding more variety, so we can have stronger organisms in the soil,” said Francisco Tapia, owner of Rico Farms. “Traditional organic and conventional practices use separated microorganisms when the reality in nature is that they all live together. We are imitating the way they live in nature to create our 'Consorcio' (microorganisms consortium).” Francisco Tapia continues: “We are very excited about the new bioFactory projects in 2021 which include expansion to produce more microorganisms and biofertilizer, creating our own worm compost, producing a second biofertilizer that is high in nitrogen and we will be running extensive on farm trials.”
Bridges Produce President Ben Johnson said: “When so much else is unpredictable and chaotic right now, our team is working tirelessly to maintain ample supply of great organic produce.”