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Cumulative Effects of Forgotten Weather Events

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We have been seeing the effects of previous forgotten weather events. Think back to the scorching temperatures over 110 degrees back in August and again in September in many growing regions, including Salinas Valley and Bakersfield.  At any one time in vegetable row crop production there are multiple succession plantings in the ground. It is not only the plantings harvested during the heat wave that suffer, but also plantings harvested 60-90 days down the road, think October to December.

The final veg plantings in the Bakersfield and Central Coast regions, before the annual Fall transition down to the desert, were all hit hard by record heat. Those plants were in the field but small at that time and were adversely affected. Some fields were completely lost, while others suffered damage leading to lower yields. Growers also saw widespread disease issues like pin rot showing up on broccoli. These areas have ended early or have reduced volumes.  

The aim each Fall is to have the northern regions winding down as the desert and Mexico regions are ramping up with some overlap.  This did not happen this year because of the lasting effects of the heat wave and the desert regions and Mexico experiencing unseasonably cool weather leading to slower growth. Last year at this time Tutti Frutti was still going strong on Heirloom tomatoes and now they are already coming to an end.  Dwelley’s final zucchini plantings were wrecked from the heat, ending their season abruptly.  Covill green beans from Mexico are harvested each year in time for Thanksgiving but this year the cold weather slowed production down dramatically.  Now add Covid-19 into the equation. Growers are having labor issues and harvesting in the fields that does happen is going slower because of social distancing requirement in the fields and in the production facilities.

What can you expect?
Quality and availability issues along with price increases on many veg items including green beans, baby bok choy, broccoli, baby sweet broccoli, broccoli crowns, brussels sprouts carrots, lettuce, colored bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes and cluster tomatoes.

The good news is that in the next few weeks we will see increasing availability of product from the California and Arizona desert growing regions relieving some of our pain. Stay tuned for updates in our weekly Buyer’s Notes.


If you missed our blogs on the August and September heat waves you can read them here:
Labor Day Heat Wave Affects Quality and Supply

Update on Crops Affected by Extreme Heat Wave

Extreme Heat Wave and Rain Storms Sweep Through California


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