Weather Impacting Crop Supplies – 3/14/24

Mother Nature’s grip on crop supplies continues to tighten as storm systems sweep across the western regions. With the latest system traversing Central California and veering eastward, Southern California and the Desert regions brace for strong winds. Sustained winds of 20-35mph, accompanied by gusts reaching 45mph, are forecasted across the southwestern desert region until Friday. These relentless winds pose a significant threat to crops, particularly delicate leafy greens like spinach and spring mix, which have already endured a barrage of adverse weather conditions.

The ongoing battle against nature’s fury extends beyond wind damage. Warmer temperatures in the desert regions are expected to exacerbate insect populations, with aphids, flies, and other pests wreaking havoc on upcoming fields. Growers are scrambling to combat these insects with insecticide sprays, but the resulting accumulation of deceased insects between leaves complicates harvesting efforts.

Moreover, the warmer climate contributes to heat-related defects, including internal burn, irregular shapes, and decreased shelf life. Mildews and diseases further plague current production, particularly iceberg and romaine lettuce, with premature pinking along the rib emerging during transit and storage.

Processing facilities also grapple with adverse weather effects, as extreme temperatures trigger physiological changes in plants, leading to increased mechanical damage and bruising during harvest and processing. Processed leafy greens are especially vulnerable, exhibiting discoloration and reduced shelf life due to weather fluctuations during growth.

Despite the challenges, planting activities in the Salinas Valley proceeded smoothly, albeit with slight delays in certain grower activities due to inclement weather. As temperatures rise, growth rates are expected to improve, with first leafy green harvests anticipated later this month. Quality remains a priority, with upcoming harvests showing promising signs in terms of quality and yield.

In conclusion, proactive crop management strategies are essential to navigate the turbulent weather conditions and maintain product quality and shelf life. Stay vigilant and adaptable in the face of these challenges to ensure a steady supply of fresh produce. Seashore in partnership with PRO*ACT will continue to keep you updated on this market and source the freshest products available to us.

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