Strong Demand Expected for Texas Kale

Strong demand expected for Texas kale

Demand for kale could be robust this season given recent weather events.

“This season the demand will be strong for kale. It’s going to be a good year for those who have it because of all the hurricanes in Florida and the Carolinas,” says Lois Kim of PPC Farms in Mission, Texas.

She does note that weather events also did delay the plantings of kale on PPC’s farms in Texas. “We just planted a few weeks ago due to unusually wet weather. Our region is really wet so everyone was delayed in all of the plantings. And then usually August, it’s too early and too hot to plant kale,” says Kim. “So we waited and then it started to storm. But we’re getting in there now.”

The season for kale from Texas will run November through to April. 

Strong finish 
All of this comes after a healthy end to PPC’s kale season in early April. “We had very good-looking kale last season and it looks like we’ll once again have some beautiful products,” says Kim.

A large part of that is attributed to a few changes PPC has made recently. Not only has it gone 100 percent organic for kale production but it also shifted to an integrated pest management system involving mixing crops. “Every few rows we have things like dill, cabbage, things like that, to lure pests away and protect our more expensive fields. So instead of 20 acres of kale together, we divide it up into two acres of kale and then some cabbage, and then some broccoli and then kale again,” says Kim. “Even though we’re doing a lot of acreage, each field is now multiple plants.”

Yield shift 
She notes that PPC has seen yields go up with this new system in place. “And I think ultimately it will help our costs go down and have good yields. Last year we had really good looking product from the fields with multiple crops,” she says.

Looking ahead though, she’s waiting cautiously to see how kale pricing will go this season. “Price was a little bit of a concern last season,” she says.

For more information:
Lois Kim
PPC Farms
Tel: 956-580-2525

Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)


Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. 

As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. By farming using soil health principles and systems that include no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, more and more farmers are actually increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity. As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields.

National Center for Appropriate Technology has been awarded the NRCS CIG grant to study soil health in sub tropical climate region of south Texas. PPC Farms signed up to host the project, matching the public grant dollars with our contribution of land and labor.

Last fall, we look at different cover crop options from clovers to buckwheat. During the summer months, our fields were planted with sudan grass and various legumes including pigeon peas. As we begin our 2018 fall planting season, we are excited to look at different ways for farmers to sequester carbon in the soil and help the soil microbes to help us. We will keep you updated pictures from time to time.


2nd Annual Small Producer Conference at Texas State University 8/13-8/14, 2018

2nd Annual Small Producer Conference at Texas State University 8/13-8/14, 2018

Anwar Garza presented the importance of FSMA compliance for small producers at the annual conference at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.


PPC’s very own Anwar Garza was invited to lead a session for the growers who wanted to learn more about food safety and G.A.P. certification process. Anwar walked the group through the basic process, and shared his experiences and why he believes the practice will help the producers regardless of the size. His expert knowledge made a deep impression on the audience as well as the other presenters at the conference. PPC Farms have complied with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) since its initial announcement in 2009, years before the compliance became mandatory.

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is being called the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was originally signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, and in the years since, FDA has been working
to develop the final rules that the act requires them to implement. The focus of the act is more effective prevention of food safety issues in the U.S. food supply. With new changes in food safety regulations also come new compliance challenges for the food industry. Growers, producers, harvesters and processors need to fully comprehend the rules in
order to overcome the challenges associated with FSMA. PPC Farms is glad that we could serve our producer community as a leader in food safety area.

Among the other presenters were Ray Archuletta, a renowned soil health specialist who tours the country “evangelizing” producers about the benefits of no-till and regenerative agriculture. His demonstration on how no-till soil retains so much water while regular soil causes run-offs and depletion of top soil was quite impressive.


Most of the applications were more suited to row crop growers or ranchers, but PPC is looking into incorporating regenerative practices such as cover cropping.

Daniel Kim, a fifteen year old farmer-in-training” received a scholarship two years in a row to attend the conference. Even though he was familiar with the vegetable growing, what fascinated him the most at the conference was combining animals with crop production. He also took away many ideas to improve his weekend farmers’ market business.

We congratulate Dr. Ken Mix of Texas State University for putting together an awesome conference!


Inaugural Pigeon Pea Field Day at PPC Farms

Inaugural Pigeon Pea Field Day at PPC Farms


Justin Duncan of National Center for Appropriate Technology introduced Pigeon Peas to the Rio Grande Valley as outreach portion of the Conservation Innovation Grant supported cover crop study on September 6th, 2018 at PPC Farms. Justin, a long time plant nerd and agronomist, cares for plants as you and I would rear our own children. He was super excited to trial various summer time hot weather cover crop choices for our south Texas heat. After waiting for a rain in May, he planted several species. Using the survival of the fittest model, Justin chose not to irrigate the field. The pigeon peas emerged as the sole survivor and winner of the contest. On September 6, 2018, Texas farmers who wanted to learn more about this super food crop gathered at PPC Farms research site in Mission, Texas, to witness a quarter acre of verdant, tall and dense population in the middle of a dry field. Dr. Alexis Racelis brought his sustainable agriculture class to the event. He led the students through the field, helping the students make the connection between the textbook and real life plants growing in local ecosystem.

PPC Farms will continue to host the Conservation Innovation Grant supported cover crop soil research, working together with NCAT and UTRGV. It was awesome to see so many people interested in and supporting sustainable and regenerative agriculture in our area.


PPC Farms Featured on Brighter Bites Website



When we can, Brighter Bites supports local farmers by sharing the product of their hard work with our participants. After all, it is the growers who spend their days tending to the fresh fruits and vegetables that helps Brighter Bites create communities of health! This year, parents and children in some of our Texas cities have had the opportunity to touch, taste, and cook delicious fresh produce grown in their own state.

In Austin, through our partnership with Hardie’s Fresh Foods, we are featuring Texas grown produce throughout our Spring programming. These items include: oranges and grapefruit  (Edinburg Citrus Association), bok choy and beets (Rio Fresh), acorn squash (PPC Farms), collard greens (Johnson’s Backyard Garden), red cabbage (J&B Farms), and sweet potatoes (H.M. Smith & Sons). Our friends at Farmhouse Delivery have donated carrots, collards, radishes, kale, turnips, kohlrabi, and bibb lettuce all grown in Texas.

We are so grateful to the growers of fresh produce in the state of Texas!







Discover Texas Episode 41 PPC Farms

Texas based cable company which produces internationally syndicated show, "Discover Texas" featured PPC Farms in their recent episode.  Meet the members of PPC  and learn their stories here.


 From left to right.  Lois Kim VP Public Relations/On-Farm Research, Isaac Kim COO, Anwar Garza VP Marketing/Field Operations, Marcelino  Garza CEO, Patricia  Garza CFO

From left to right.  Lois Kim VP Public Relations/On-Farm Research, Isaac Kim COO, Anwar Garza VP Marketing/Field Operations, Marcelino  Garza CEO, Patricia  Garza CFO

PPC Farms Supports Environmental Awareness Club at UTRGV

PPC Farms Supports Environmental Awareness Club at UTRGV

20180222_122318 (1).jpg

Organic produce, homemade treats available each month at UTRGV Farmers Market

February 22, 2018  Edinburg, Texas

Suzanne El-Haj  and Martha Garcia, co-presidents of the UTRGV Environmental Awareness Club, spearhead the monthly UTRGV Farmers Market, open to students and the public alike and held outside the chapel on the Edinburg Campus.  

Students and faculty enjoyed looking at and purchasing locally grown spinach, kale, cabbage and squashes, donated to the club by PPC Farms and other organic growers in the valley.  Lois Kim, representing PPC Farms, interacted with students who where curious where the farms were located in the Rio Grande Valley.  The shoppers received deep satisfaction in knowing who grew and where their food was coming from.  

Also available for purchase were eggs from local free range chicken raised on non-soy feed and vegan baked treats.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

PPC Farms Chosen as Research Site for  USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant

PPC Farms Chosen as Research Site for USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant

“The Conservation Innovation Grant program is an example of government at its best, providing seed money to help spur cutting-edge projects. This year’s competition resulted in an impressive array of proposals that will ultimately benefit the people who grow our food and fiber.” - NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan

Buckwheat at PPC Farms


Buckwheat at PPC Farms

Buckwheat, also known as common buckwheat, Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat, is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop.

Are You Eating Buckwheat?

Buckwheat may be one of the healthiest foods you’re not eating. Along with having numerous health benefits, it is tasty, easy to prepare and inexpensive. Here are some things I love about it:

Buckwheat is not a grain.

Many who are trying to avoid grains find themselves limited to fruit and sweet potatoes as sources of good carbs. Even though it’s often included in lists of grains, buckwheat is not a grain. The edible portion is a seed from a plant related to greens like rhubarb and sorrel.

Buckwheat is gluten-free.

Because it is neither a grain nor related to wheat, buckwheat is gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Studies show that even in high concentrations, buckwheat flour and its purified proteins have no immunologic reactions for patients with celiac disease.

At PPC Farms, we are co-planting buckwheat and clover with broccoli in experimental plots to study weed suppression, nitrogen fixation and soil temperature balancing benefits.  The study was funded by NRCS, awarded to NCAT, and execulted by UTRGV.  

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is an American organization headquartered in that is dedicated to appropriate technology and sustainability. Projects specifically deal with sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and food, sustainable living, farm energy, and climate change.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is a public research university in the University of Texas System.  UTRGV is one of the largest universities in the U.S. to have a majority Hispanic student population; 90% of its students are Hispanic, virtually all of them Mexican-Americans.


Connecting Dietitians to Agriculture Event Held at PPC Farms

Connecting Dietitians to Agriculture Event Held at PPC Farms

LEARN on the FARM- RGV South Region KICK OFF!

Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics RGV South Region Connects to Agriculture


On November 27, 2017 at 6pm to 8pm, special kick off event for RGV South Region of the Texas Academy  took place at PPC Farms. The members of Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics learned about organic farming, local produce, about the “story” behind PPC farms contribution to community health, and enjoyed some healthy recipe sampling.  It was organized by Andie Lee Gonzalez.  

Texas Academy, an affiliate of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a not-for-profit professional organization of over 4,000 registered dietitians, dietetic technicians, and students in Texas. Texas Academy members provide expert food and nutrition resources for Texans. They are here to help Texans improve and manage their health—and make eating an enjoyable and delicious experience.



1/24/2018 Fresh Plaza Story on PPC Farms

1/24/2018 Fresh Plaza Story on PPC Farms

Grower expands organic production

US kale supplies healthy, prices up

Despite the cold temperatures, the hearty-stalked kale supplies are looking equally hearty. 

“Supply of kale is good,” says Lois Kim of PPC Farms in Mission, TX. “We had a freeze twice in the past month, but the cold didn’t affect it.”  While PPC’s supplies are coming from the Rio Grande Valley region in South Texas, competition is hailing from Florida on the East Coast, Georgia, South Carolina and California. 

While supplies are healthy, PPC is in the midst of moving crops from conventional to organic kale. “We have 50 percent more organic and 50 percent less conventional compared to last year,” says Kim. “We have more organics and less conventional because we transitioned more acreage into organics and we plan to continue to do so based on our success.” 

Quality improvements
PPC also took measures to improve the quality of its crops for 2018. “The quality is extraordinary compared to last year due to improved management and proactive scouting,” says Kim. Those steps include hiring an employee knowledgeable about integrated pest management into its organic production. “And daily scouting coupled with immediate action taken at the first sign of infestation has helped with this year's production,” she adds, noting PPC is also currently experimenting with companion plants, buffers, trap cropping and cover crops.

At the same time, thanks to the recent frigid temperatures on the East Coast, prices have increased on kale. “In early January they were up by 50 percent,” says Kim. “Last year, the unusually warm winter kept the US greens prices depressed. We couldn’t give the stuff away.” 

Looking ahead though, Kim anticipates the prices staying high for the next couple of weeks until the East Coast catches up. “And we expect our kale to be very sweet due to the cold snap,” she says. 

For more information: 
Lois Kim
PPC Farms
Tel : +1-956-580-2525

Publication date: 1/24/2018
Author: Astrid van den Broek

PPC Farms Wins Cultivating Change

PPC Farms Wins Cultivating Change


PPC Farms Awarded for Cultivating Change 

$10,000 grant will lead to trial organic farming methods



PPC Farms, located in Mission, cultivates and grows conventional and organic produce year round. (photo PPC Farms)

Mission-based PPC Farms recently placed second nationally in the PRO*ACT Cultivating Change contest, winning $10,000. The funds will enable PPC Farms to reach its goal to protect their crops from various pests and diseases without the use of pesticides and fungicides. The farm plans to purchase floating row covers for use in the farm’s organic brassica and cucurbit production.  

Grants range from $1,000 to $20,000 and are of use to complete a wide variety of sustainability and expansion projects. These projects positively impact each winning farm as well as the surrounding community. 

Established in 1972, PPC Farms grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including kale, lettuce, onions, squash, tomatoes and avocados. They partner with Hardie’s Fresh Foods, a PRO*ACT fresh produce distributor and member of Greener Fields Together, a program that supports sustainability throughout the fresh produce supply chain.  

“The Cultivating Change grant will allow PPC Farms to trial organic farming methods that have not been adopted in our area,” said Lois Kim, public relations director at PPC Farms. “We are expecting that the floating row covers will not only extend the growing season for our cabbages, kale and squashes, but also protect them from pests and other threats. Our success will impact not only our operation but other growers in the region.” 

About Cultivating Change

Cultivating Change began in 2015 as a way to promote and support the sustainability efforts of local farmers. It provides funds for new or upgraded equipment and facilities as well as certifications. It also funds eco-driven projects that will both minimize environmental impact and maximize production. This year, 100 farms participated in the grant program. Since it’s inception, Cultivating Change has awarded more than $200,000 in grants. This year, six project proposals were recipients of a total of $55,000 in grant money. Additionally, five outstanding winners, who each will receive from $1,000 to $10,000 in grant funds, were chosen via popular vote.


PPC  At the Forefront of South Texas Organic Farming

PPC At the Forefront of South Texas Organic Farming

PPC at the forefront of South Texas organic farming


MISSION, TX — An established South Texas vegetable grower in recent years has also become a major organic grower.

Plantation Produce Co. was established 1972. The firm, which is also known as PPC Farms, is a 12-month producer in Texas and Mexico of conventional and organic commodities.

Mission, TX-based PPC Farms grows organic and conventional greens, herbs, peppers, cucumbers, beets, cabbage, broccoli and the famous Texas 1015 sweet onions. The offerings include organic yellow and red onions and conventional yellow, red and white onions from March true June.

PPC, which purchased its 75,000-square-foot Texas processing facility from Frito Lay in 2009, also added four cold storage rooms. The 1,600-acre farmland has its own water district and enjoys “plenty of water,” said Marcelino Garza, president of PPC.

In Guanajuato, Mexico, PPC Farms Mexico has a joint grower-partner and the entire operation there is organic with USDA and NICS certification. What sets PPC Farms apart is their commitment to food safety. PPC Farms is GFSI certified under Global G.A.P.; USDA Organic Certified for field safety operations, packing and processing; and Primus GFSI certified for fields, harvester and facility. Its organic certification is from Nature’s International Certificate.

“We are ready for FSMA [the Food Safety Modernization Act implementation] in 2018,” Garza said.

PPC ships to customers all over the United States. “From here we can ship one pallet or a full trailer load,” Garza noted.

The PPC is family owned and operated by third-generation farmers and brothers Anwar and Marcelino Garza, along with Isaac Kim.

Kim’s wife, Lois Kim, is PPC’s vice president of public relations.

PPC Engages Texas Congressman Vela About Farm Bill


PPC Engages Texas Congressman Vela About Farm Bill

PPC Farms' Lois Kim met with U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela during a Town Hall Meeting in Pharr, Texas on January 25th at the Food Bank RGV.   Representative Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) was elected Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture by the Democratic membership of the committee. The role of Vice Ranking Member was created by the Democratic Caucus in 2017 in order to provide more leadership opportunities for newer members. 

Kim inquired Congressman Vela whether  there will  be provisions for vegetable growers at the similar level as the traditional row crop growers in the upcoming Farm Bill.  Increasing the number of crops covered by USDA subsidized crop insurance policy will be one way the bill will ensure there is continued specialty crop production without jeopardizing the farmers from natural disasters, climate change and policy related market disruptions, Kim suggested.

PPC Farms will continue the conversation on our nation's food policy issues so that all will have access to healthy food in this country.



PPC Farms Wins Cultivating Change Grant

PPC Farms Wins Cultivating Change Grant

What Is Cultivating Change?

Cultivating Change is a local farm grant program offered by Greener Fields Together. It aims to fund projects and pursuits that will help local farmers do what they’re best at: farming. Qualified growers and aggregators are able to win up to $30,000 annually through an online voting platform and peer review panel.  PPC Farms placed second in the peer review panel category, and was awarded $10,000 for is proposal to use floating row covers in brassica and cucurbit production in south Texas.  Our on-farm research coordinator and public relations director, Lois Kim, received a surprise phone call via Greener Fields Together's Facebook Live on the day of the announcement, and the entire office was completely blown away by the good news.  We will update you on how the floating row covers can be adapted to improve organic farming in our subtropical temperature.

Go Local!

PPC Farms Cabbage was served at Luby's Cafeteria throughout the Rio Grade Valley, allowing the locals to enjoy the bounty of the land.

Luby’s Cafeterias was founded in 1947 in San Antonio, Texas.  Over the next 70 years Luby’s opened 95 cafeteria style restaurants throughout Texas.  According to their website, dedicated team members arrive early each day to prepare the day’s entrées with unprocessed, nutritious ingredients. Nowadays with a lot of chain restaurants serving up processed foods, Luby’s distinguishes itself by staying true to its traditions, serving up real food.

Thank you, Luby's, for going Local!


Cover Crops at PPC Farms

A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to manage soil erosion, soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agroecosystem, an ecological system managed and largely shaped by humans to produce food, feed, or fiber. Currently, not many countries are known for using the cover crop method.  PPC Farms use cover crops to achieve the following goals:


  • Suppressing weeds

  • Protecting soil from rain or runoff

  • Improving soil aggregate stability

  • Reducing surface crusting

  • Adding active organic matter to soil

  • Breaking hardpan

  • Fixing nitrogen

  • Scavenging soil nitrogen

  • Suppressing soil diseases and pests

Justin observing nitrogen fixation.

On a recent visit to PPC Farms in Texas, Justin Duncan, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with NCAT, observed the formation of pink root nodules on our soybean crop.  Many legumes have root nodules that provide a home for symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia. The Rhizobia convert nitrogen gas from the atmosphere into ammonia, which is then used in the formation of amino acids and nucleotides . When nodules are young and not yet fixing nitrogen, they are usually white or grey inside. As nodules grow in size they gradually turn pink or reddish in color, indicating nitrogen fixation has started.

We at PPC Farms are constantly experimenting with alternative cover crops that suit our subtropical area soil and climate in order to improve the soil that provides us with our bounty.

Local Farmer Program's Deb Garrison working with the PPC Farms team in Mission, TX! Go Local Farmers Go!

Local Farmer Program Deb Garrison

Debra Garrison of Local Farmer Program visited PPC Farms HQ to initiate us into the Local Farmer Program network.  


If you are a local procurer with institutions and entities listed below, you can now look up producers in your area who can supply locally grown products to you.


  • Institutions (Schools and School Districts, Hospitals, and other state run agencies)

  • Local Markets

  • Restaurants

  • Cooperatives

  • Farmers' Market Associations

  • Community Supported Agricultural Associations

  • Food Service

  • Other Local Food Aggregators


Local Farmer Program offers innovative, business-to-business, online food safety data exchange.