The AREC Club organized a field trip on November 19th, to Nogales, AZ. which introduced those in attendance just how close UA students are to food production and international trade. The trip included a couple of stops.
First, we visited Wholesum Organic Tomatoes, they are a family business from Mexico which started their greenhouse 2012 in Nogales, AZ. They grow 18 acres of greenhouse tomatoes under strictly organic practices, and export their products to chain supermarkets in the United States. On our trip we were proud to learn that one of AREC’s past students works there! We were able to chat with her see that she is doing well and putting her degree to work for her with this organization now.
Second, we visited Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Nogales, AZ port of entry. We were shown how products are inspected and we learned many things especially how important CBP is in terms of protecting the United States from suspicious items including inspecting food for unwanted pests/bugs and other unreported products. CBP controls over $7 billion of trade each year.
Our last stop was with the Tricar Distribution Center in Nogales, AZ. Tricar has a huge warehouse where all products from Mexico are sent after passing through the CBP checkpoint. After the products are sent to Tricar, the FDA inspects all the products for pathological diseases and all of these products are then allowed for sale into the United States. Tricar is a wholesale business, where they repackage the products and load them for shipment, which can then go on to anywhere in the United States. They also treated us to delicious carne asada style lunch!
Many thanks to all that helped organize this trip including: Georgina Felix, Rod Sbragia, Wholesum Harvest, Customs & Border Protection, Tricar Sales, Gary Thompson, Paul Wilson and the AREC Department.
To join the AREC Club or attend a meeting, please contact Elena Chin, Club President: https://cals.arizona.edu/arec/arec-club