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Veg Supply Chain Returning to Normal

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Organic Produce Network May 14, 2020. For organic produce, the transition to spring/summer production has concluded for most of the vegetables, with summer fruit starting to ramp up. Consequently, there is a plethora of opportunities for retailers from coast to coast to start promoting organics again as the nation starts its slow climb back to normalcy.

Organic Produce Network May 14, 2020

“For the most part, the supply chains are working well,” said Robert Lichtenberg, director of purchasing for Earl’s Organic Produce, San Francisco, speaking of the impact of coronavirus. “What is mostly affected are the products coming from production plants such as salad mixes and pre-cut vegetables.”

He said those operations have had to adjust their schedules and reduce the number of employees in the plant at any one time as they practice social distancing.  This has led to a reduction in supplies just as consumers are purchasing more produce in bags and other formats with less chance for human contamination. 

This also impacted organic onions and potatoes creating a shortage in the first month of COVID-19, but Lichtenberg said the advent of new crops of those two items has filled the supply situation. “Except for organic russets.  There are no russets on the market right now,” he said.

Lichtenberg has noticed retailers starting to return to a sense of normalcy, which means they are looking for items to promote.  He added that in the organic aisle there are many different items that currently offer promotional opportunities.  “All the wet vegetables are plentiful and there are lots of berries,” he said this week.  “Broccoli and sweet broccoli are promotable; and cauliflower has come way down.  Leaf lettuces are very affordable. There is a lot of asparagus on the market also.”

Lichtenberg said all the traditional organic production areas along California’s Central Coast are in full production creating few supply issues for vegetable commodities.  And the production of organic stone fruit is ramping up in the San Joaquin Valley. Read the full story on the Organic Produce Network.

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