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California Hit by Extreme Heat Wave

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Earls_ThermA heat wave continues to sweep through California this week with temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees in many growing regions.  Higher than average temperatures are expected to disrupt production and harvest. Some summer produce such as tomatoes like the heat but if it gets past 110 degrees for an extended period of time, the plants become stressed, interrupting its production cycle, leading to the opportunity for disease and pests and preventing necessary nutrients from reaching the plant.

Not only do these high temperatures effect crop production, this heat also limits the hours that field workers are able to labor. Workers are being sent home before noon because it is too hot to be in the field picking.  Hot days and less hours to pick will affect supply and quality across various commodities. The extent of these weather related problems has yet to be determined but you can expect possible supply issues on tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cool season crops like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and bunched greens, and assume prices will rise. On the fruit side, strawberry growers in Watsonville and Salinas are stripping plants this week after the weekend heat to remove stressed fruit. This will result in less fruit in the market and a rise in prices.

This reminds us to be mindful of the fluctuations in weather when shopping for produce throughout the season and to recognize the hard work and effort of our farmers.


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