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

BY TAD THOMPSON | NOVEMBER 01, 2017

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.

http://www.producenews.com/more-company-profiles/company-profiles/22782-ppc-at-the-forefront-of-south-texas-organic-farming

PPC Engages Texas Congressman Vela About Farm Bill

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

http://cultivatingchange.org/2018-winners/

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.

What is IPL, Integrated Pest Management?

Integrated pest management, or IPM, is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.

Rex Dufour, NCAT entomology and integrated pest management specialist, and Anwar Garza of PPC Farms collecting pest specimen from trap crops at PPC Farms.

In IPM, monitoring and correct pest identification help you decide whether management is needed

Monitoring means checking your field, landscape, forest, or building—or other site—to identify which pests are present, how many there are, or what damage they've caused. Correctly identifying the pest is key to knowing whether a pest is likely to become a problem and determining the best management strategy.

After monitoring and considering information about the pest, its biology, and environmental factors, you can decide whether the pest can be tolerated or whether it is a problem that warrants control. If control is needed, this information also helps you select the most effective management methods and the best time to use them.

PPC Farms participates in 2nd Brownsville ISD Farmers Market

PPC Farms participates in 2nd Brownsville ISD Farmers Market

The Brownsville Independent School District joined forces last week with the Brownsville Wellness Coalition to bring locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to elementary and middle school students. The second BISD Farmers Market took place Nov. 17 in the Vela Middle School gym. The event served as a pre-Thanksgiving shopping day for the students, who were given information about the produce on sale at the event so they could make shopping lists with their families and make informed purchases.

PPC Farms Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Fund Established

PPC Farms Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Fund Established

PPC Farms has created PPC Farms Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Fund for the students pursuing the newly established Agroecology program at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  A check was signed Marcelino Garza, CEO of PPC Farms and was presented to Dr. Alexis Racelis, Agroecology Program Director and  Roxanna Vasquez-Lucio from the College of Science Development Office.  Also present were Isaac Kim, Patricia Garza, Anwar Garza and Lois Kim.

PPC Hosts USDA Cochran Fellows for Hands-on Training in Food Safety

PPC Hosts USDA Cochran Fellows for Hands-on Training in Food Safety

PPC Farms,  a South Texas grower, shipper, packer, hosted USDA Cochran Fellowship participants for U.S. Food Safety System Policies and Functions Training Program designed to train government regulatory officials to learn about and ultimately incorporate into the draft Food Safety Law internationally-recognized food safety standards.

Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First Comes to the RGV

Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First visited the Rio Grande Valley on September 15 & 16, 2016 at the invitation of University of Texas RGV to speak to the community about understanding the global food systems and the importance of building our local food movement.  On September 15th, Dr. Holt-Gimenez addressed the community with a talk titled “Agroecology and Food Systems Transformation” at Quinta Mazatlan.