Hurricane Impact on Organic Produce

Hurricane Irma and Harvey have taken a toll on not only lives, but the food chain, as well. Winds and flooding is causing short and long term impacts in the organic marketplace.

Photo by Farm Futures

Florida, the 2nd largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the U.S., was hit heavily by Hurricane Irma. Avocados grown in Florida and the Caribbean were devastated by Hurricane Irma and now in short supply. Short supply also unfortunately means increases in price due to demand.

Other damaged crops coming from Florida include grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. Supplies will be very limited this year. According to our major produce distributor, "Some published reports speculated that between 20% to 50% of Florida’s citrus crop could be lost."

Florida also produces an abundance of watermelon, sugar cane, cotton, broccoli, potatoes, beans and timber. Don't be surprised if prices skyrocket from frozen OJ to canned beans.

Other produce with price increases due to the hurricanes? Tomatoes and greens.

Rather than product loss, the market will take a hit in another way. Tractor trailers are in high demand in Texas and Florida by FEMA. This high demand limits trucks for produce delivery across the nation and will drive up the cost of delivering food, which in turn affects the cost of produce.

When we have sticker shock for oranges over the coming months, let's turn that thoughts to our farmers. Clint Griffiths, AG Day TV Host, said "Citrus growers are the type of farmers that get one type of crop a year and this group was already a long way along, it was just about mature, everything about green, about to turn orange so they won't have another crop until next year so this is kind of it for the Florida crop now," said Griffiths.

One crop to sustain them, gone. As consumers, we can seek out new fruits to get other sources of Vitamin C. However, our Florida farmers, lost their income. Let us cross our fingers for our farmers in Florida and Georgia, who due to wind and flooding damage will need to source seeds and/or replant citrus trees.

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