Co-op Produce Department Adapts to Winter Weather Woes in California

by Sharon Mueller, Produce Manager


Expect to see major changes in availability of crops from California this year. Not only have farms there been hit with freezing temperatures, but the lack of snow and rain has had a major impact as well.

Citrus is the crop most affected by cold weather, with California varieties coming close to the end, and higher prices on what little remains. Some farmers have lost their entire crop. This has created higher demand for Florida citrus, bringing their season to an early end as well. We will do our best to stock oranges and tangerines, but will keep an eye on price.

Row crops (the annual veggies like cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbages, broccoli, melons, peppers, etc.) are also being affected by both the cold and the drought. In the Fresno area, irrigation water is extremely limited. Farmers are letting (lettuce) fields go unplanted, and directing what water they can get to permanent crops like citrus, nut trees, avocados and asparagus. An official from one large farm said, “A lot of land is going to be fallow, and a lot of people are going to be unemployed. Everyone’s scrambling.”

What’s the good news? The Upper Valley Food Co-op is still ordering from local farms such as Deep Root Cooperative and Pete’s Greens. We have good supplies of local potatoes, carrots,  cabbages, turnips, rutabagas, beets, celeriac, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and the like. Make a cole slaw salad! Roast local roots! And our local apple selection is the best in the Upper Valley, including IPM and organic!

We cannot predict how this will all play out. We’re keeping our eyes open and our ears to the ground, so that, whatever happens elsewhere, we will be your go-to place for good local food!

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