>Since Mexico is Colorado's No. 2 trading partner after Canada, all efforts are being made to continue to increase exports to those two countries.
To help solve tough APHIS/Mexican inspections on fresh potatoes going into Mexico, a group in the San Luis Valley called Colorado Gourmet Potatoes is peeling them before shipment.
The potatoes, all used for chipping, get around the rule set by the Mexican government regarding "eyes: which will sprout." The group peels and then dips the potatoes in a solution that helps keep them fresh. They are then packed into refrigerated trucks for shipment south.
The increased cost to the Mexicans is small and saves work for them once they arrive for manufacturing of the final product.
Of course the SLV group credits NAFTA with removing some barriers over the last few years which has allowed Colorado producers to ship potatoes and many other agricultural products.
Other fresh vegetables shipped include onions, lettuce, spinach, sweet corn and pumpkins. However, beef is the No. 1 product shipped, with some $370 million worth shipped to date. This is a 35 percent increase over 2001.