The Impact of Global Weather on our Fresh Produce

The Impact of Global Weather on our Fresh Produce

If you are like me, you love your fruits and vegetables. You want them fresh, crisp, and tasty. But you may have noticed that some of your favourite produce items are getting more expensive and harder to find. Why is that?

At JR Holland, we buy and sell just about every type of fruit and vegetable you can think of. We collaborate with growers from all over the world. But over past year, we have faced more weather-related challenges than ever before. It seems like every region has been hit by some sort of extreme weather event, whether it is too much rain, too little rain, or something else.

Let me give you some examples:
In Northern Europe and the UK, where we get a lot of our root vegetables, it has been raining pretty much non-stop since October. The soil is saturated, and the crops are rotting in the ground.

The weather has been particularly cruel to potatoes. Planting was already down by around 10 per cent following a dreadful growing season, resulting in a lower harvest to begin with. Many potatoes were then left to rot in the ground because of the rain. Now, farmers are having trouble planting the next crop because a seed shortage has led to a significant increase in the cost of potato seed. So, we are likely facing a challenge with potatoes for the foreseeable future.

In the UK, we are already supplementing our domestic supply of carrots and onions with more expensive imports, and due to a very poor yield we’re almost completely out of parsnips. Typically, we could rely on imports from Spain to supplement our parsnip supply, but those are not expected to be available until mid-May.  In the coming months, it’s anticipated that the availability of vegetables will remain constrained, with a reliance on imports at levels higher than usual, leading to elevated prices.

In Southern Europe, on the other hand, it’s been too dry. The drought has affected the quality and quantity of many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus and salads. We’ve had to look for alternative sources and pay higher prices. We have also had to deal with the logistical challenges of transporting perishable goods across longer distances.

In South America, where we source asparagus, avocados, and berries, the weather phenomenon “El Nino” has caused floods, landslides, and heatwaves. The price of Asparagus for example, has soared and many other products have also been affected.

In Africa, where we source some of our exotic produce, such as mange tout and green beans, the wet season has been prolonged and more intense than usual, causing fungal diseases, pests, and crop losses. As a result, the growers there are struggling to meet the demand.

As you can see, it’s not easy to source fresh produce in these turbulent times. But we won’t give up. We’re working hard to find solutions, to diversify our sources, to maintain our quality standards, and of course, to keep our prices as fair as possible. We’re also keeping you informed, so you know what’s going on and what to expect.

So, the next time you bite into a juicy apple, enjoy a crunchy salad or savour a sweet berry, spare a thought for the growers who made it possible and the weather they had to contend with.

JR Holland are always here to bring you the best of the season, whatever the weather.

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