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Update on Crops Affected by Extreme Heat Wave

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We are well into our second week of temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees in many California growing regions.  We start to see quality issues when temperatures remain high for an extended period of time. The plants become stressed, interrupting its production cycle, slowing down the ripening process and preventing necessary nutrients from reaching the plant.  For many plants like tomatoes, new fruit will not set in high heat conditions.  The flowers will not pollinate leading to gaps in production down the road. 

The heat affects our food production, putting not only the plants and fruit at risk but the people harvesting our food. Once the temperatures reach 90-95 degrees it is too hot to be in the field picking and workers will be sent home.  Hot days and fewer hours to pick will affect supply and quality across various commodities. Here is the latest update from our growers.

Apples:
Sonoma County Gravenstein apple season is ending sooner than expected. The heat wave stressed the trees to the point that they started to drop their fruit.

Blueberries:
Homegrown and Glacier Fed blueberries are experiencing post harvest issues this week from the extreme heat, some of which do not show up until after packing.  Our next land of Pacific Northwest blueberries will be on Monday, August 24th.  The good news is that we will have a surprise small land of Forbidden Fruit out of Santa Maria arriving Friday.

Herbs
Dosner, Jacobs and Bay Area Herbs  are reporting severe damage to crops from the heat. The weather forecast is not offering much relief for the next 5-7 days in most West Coast growing regions.  The plants need a recovery period of at least 7-10 days, depending on crop damage it could be longer.  Tomatero is experiencing up to 101 degrees less than 1 mile from the California Central Coast where they grow basil and strawberries. Basil will be very limited for at least a couple of weeks.

Lettuce:
Expect to see a little sunburn on some lettuce varieties.  Romaine and Butter lettuce will show the worst damage with browning around the top of the leaves.

Romaine Lettuce Showing Sunburn

We will continue to share crop and production gap updates as the effects of the heat wave become more apparent. This is a reminder to be mindful of the changes in the weather when shopping for produce throughout the season and to recognize the hard work and effort of our farmers.

If you missed the blog earlier this week on the Heat Wave https://bit.ly/californiaextremeheatwaveandrainstorm

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