Rio Grande Valley Produce

The Ruby Reds, Star Rubys, and other citrus are rolling in, but prices are rising. There is no sweeter citrus than that grown in the Rio Grande Valley of far south Texas. I don't do Indian River grapefruit from Florida. Cali oranges are often tasteless. I buy Texas whenever I can, operating on the premise that the nearer the produce is to your door, the fresher-tasting it is, which is why I shop at HEB Groceries. They buy Texas first, and from elsewhere only as needed. Ideally, though, I buy from fruitstands in the Valley. There's one in Donna on old US Business 83 that I'll go out of my way for because their fruit is bigger, tastier, and cheaper than even the roadside stands. The best of the best either stays in the Valley or is shipped in gift boxes for Christmas.

On Thanksgiving night, most stands were closed. The best I could do was stop at a roadside stand outside Alice, about 100 miles north of Edinburg. A ten pound bag of grapefruit or oranges was going for $5. The price was a little higher than last year, I remarked in Spanish to the man at the stand. He blamed the prices on the hurricanes in Florida; the Subway in South Padre blamed Florida too for not having any tomatoes to serve, even though there were plenty of ripe 'maters from the Valley and northern Mexico in local stores.
Still, the Alice stand's oranges were bigger and juicier than what it at the HEB and the grapefruit near perfect. So I happily paid the price and look forward to having great produce all the way to the end of next spring.

If I make it back to the Valley before then, I'm going back to Donna for more fruit with a sidetrip to Progreso for bordertown knicknacks like tequila, which is almost as expensive in Mexico as it is in Texas these days. If the border isn't what it used to be, much of the Valley still is.

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