Raging fires on the West Coast are ravaging communities. While we have seen some influence on our supply chain, we are now seeing greater impacts this week. Lack of sun due to smoke-filled skies, ash falling on crops, poor air quality, the fires themselves, and other factors are impacting farms, warehouses, farm workers, and the trucking industry.
Our friends at Four Seasons Produce share:
"ALERT! Here is what growers are warning us about for the rest of September and into October:
• Severe shortages on Strawberries and weaker quality
• Lighter color and delayed harvest on many Apple varieties
• Quality issues from heat stress on many row crop Vegetables
• Delays in packing and harvests due to shorter days in the field from smoke
• Delays at packing houses waiting for Apples/Pears to come out of the orchards
• Higher freight rates due to drivers not wanting to load in these regions.
• Higher freight rates due to delays in loading at wildfire-impacted shippers"
We continue to wish our farmers and food producers, packers, and shippers well wishes for their health and safety during this dangerous time. Fortunately, we are happy to continue to source as much locally as possible from Central PA farmers.
Fortunately, our growing season here in south central PA is still strong. As the weather cools, area organic farmers will have supplies of greens and lettuce. We are still seeing farmers sell through their crops of potatoes, and sweet potatoes. We are looking forward to the abundance of leeks that will grow, along with sweet potatoes that should be ready to harvest shortly. With the consistent weather changes and natural disasters, it's never been a better time to eat seasonally and locally.
Here is what else is going on in the organic produce marketplace (courtesy of Four Seasons Produce) and reports from local farmers.
Apples: Last week we mentioned that it's apple picking time and there was a great crop waiting for you! Unfortunately, fires in Washington state is adversely effecting harvest and shipment. So far, we have been able to stock our usual staple apples and some rotators at great prices and that look fantastic. We hope we can continue this throughout the season.
Avocado: We are happy to report that Avocados are in plentiful supply and prices should remain fairly steady for the next few weeks.
Berries: Reports continue to show that berries will have shortages and high prices over the next month and a half (or more) due to weather issues.
Broccoli: Four Seasons shares, "Factors of extra demand and abnormally high temperatures early in August are impacting the situation. Quality issues are leading to very low yields and high prices on any of the good stuff left to harvest. Growers are leaving product in the field that have dehydration, hollow core, and pin rot. Quebec-based shippers are targeting late September to be back on track with availability."
Citrus: News remains the same. Crops will be tight with some out of stocks until end of October.
Cucumbers: As we mentioned last time, supplies will dwindle and prices will increase for the next several weeks due to seasonal transitions by location and crop issues due to weather.
Greens: Cool weather in PA means we are starting to get a great supply of local greens. This week enjoy Kale from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op and Chard from Dickinson College Farm.
Lettuce: Romaine lettuce is in very short supply due weather issues while Green Leaf lettuce is starting to pace well. We have been working on sourcing locally and as the weather continues to cool here in south central PA, we will see a larger yield available that might hold us through.
Mango: Last call for organic mangoes. Unfortunately, due to crop issues and location rotation mangoes will be unavailable until mid to end of October.
Squash: Hard squash is starting to make its way in and our friends at Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op have a nice group of squash we have started to bring in. This week enjoy Acorn Squash!