One local produce company is trying to revamp the way people eat by offering healthy and nutritious options while changing the way people get products with offer farm-to-table deliveries. 

The Palo Blanco Farm and Ranch is a local and sustainable farm and ranch operation in Laredo that is family owned. It offer farm-to-table specialty products, which means many of these items cannot be found in grocery stores, as all the products are grown locally.

Although the business has faced many obstacles from the pandemic and high inflation in its small two-year history, its owners state that it has grown to have a stable base of customers which keeps pushing them to make more product and expand their services. 

Marcella Juarez, owner and farm manager of Palo Blanco Farm and Ranch, said the business started in 2020 on a ranch that has been in their family for over 160 years. She said that this has been a dream of hers since she was 18. 

Prior to beginning her work at the ranch, Marcella went to school out of the city and got various degrees in areas like agriculture to learn more about the land. 

“We then brought that back to Laredo to feed our community,” Marcella said. “Laredo has areas that are considered food deserts, and we have a lack of access for healthy food and a lot of health issues, so that is what really made us want to do something to help our community.”

Alongside brother Manuel, the Juarez siblings said they began their business venture on March 20, 2020 — just days after the first COVID case was discovered in Laredo as the pandemic went on to plague the area and many local businesses moving forward. However, they were fortunate their business was outside, and they benefited from the Laredo Main Street Farmer’s Market hosting a virtual market where Laredoans could see what local businesses had to offer as they remained locked down in their homes. 

“We were really just kind of learning as we were going with the punches,” Marcella said. “Locally the farmer’s market had a virtual farmer’s market when all that started, and it just gave us an outlet to be ready to work with restaurants and be ready to go to the farmer’s market when everything shut down. We then started online farm-to-table deliveries, meaning that we would take our products directly to the doors of our customers. We did it in a COVID-safe way because that it is how we had to do it back then.”

Although the pandemic presented a challenge, Marcella said they saw many opportunities due to the fact that there were not similar business models in the city, and because they were able to bring something new and healthy to the people that many Laredoans were not accustomed to. 

“What we are really known for are our microgreens, and microgreens are something that not everyone has heard of,” Marcella said. “They are young herbs and vegetables that are harvested right after they germinate or sprout, and because of that they have way more nutrition and more flavor. They are even good for healthy eating and add to meals that you are already enjoying, setting the meal with some freshness and health benefits.”

Aside from their microgreens like organically-grown cilantro, the business also offers products like fresh farm eggs, sprouts, edible flowers, hydroponic herbs and some seasonal produce. Their mission is to create a sustainable farm and help feed proper nutritious foods to the people of Laredo. 

Manuel Juarez, who is the social media and branding manager at Palo Blanco Farm and Ranch, states that since the calming down of the pandemic, he made sure that their business still continued with their deliveries — which they do all over Webb County from north Laredo to Rio Bravo and El Cenizo. Manuel said they created subscription deliveries, which are done every first Friday of the month and provide products right from their farm to the owners’ homes.

The company has also continued to participate in various pop-up events throughout the city supporting small businesses. Manuel said they only use glass jars instead of plastic jars as part of their recycling program, and for people that recycle their jars, they waive their $3 delivery fee. 

Subscribers to their business are also the first ones to know about monthly specials that the business may offer. They will receive first pick for any seasonal products, and if there is ever any inventory shortage, these subscribers are considered priority first. 

Manuel said that as restaurants began opening up, several of them requested their products for use in their food. At the Laredo Main Street Farmer’s Market, the company offers free samples of their microgreens for everyone to try. 

The siblings said they have also worked with the two local school districts to educate the students about what they offer to the city. 

“Many people when they try a microgreen for the first time, it is like they realize that healthy eating does not have to be boring or big salads and get way more nutrition from these tiny greens that they can add to their takeout or smoothies,” Manuel said. “One challenge that we continue to have is bringing this food to Laredo and teaching people how to enjoy it.”

To help with these efforts, the small business is also working on an original farmer’s recipe cookbook with recipes that the Laredo community loves while using the nutritious products. Manuel said everything from dinner to snacks and even cocktails can be done with their microgreens. 

So far amid the several economic challenges that have affected everybody — from the pandemic to inflation — the sibling duo states that their business is doing well. 

“We are out there and connecting, and Laredo is also growing too, so there are so many opportunities,” Marcella said. “We have been invited to speak at the Laredo Food Policy Council and several high school events as well, and we have been invited to a lot of things as we get out there. I would definitely consider it successful.”

Palo Blanco Farm and Ranch can be found on social media via Instagram at @paloblancofarmandranch where the latest offers and products are available for public view. At their website, more can be discovered about their business at 

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