Wild weather causes vegetable shortage

Leafy vegetables like these are in short supply, due to crops being damaged in the recent storms. File photo.

The country's recent battering by cyclones and storms has left more than just flooding damage and felled trees.

A number of vegetable crops have been destroyed, causing a nationwide shortage of vegetables, which in some cases has led to price increases.

Foodstuffs head of external relations Antoinette Laird says due to the very wet weather, the supply of green vegetables to their stores – which include New World and PAK'nSAVE – has been affected.

“Beans, broccoli, salads, silverbeet, lettuce and spinach are all in particularly short supply, which means customers may notice the retail price of these vegetables is higher than usual.

“A good alternative option is cabbage, which is generally still in plentiful supply and affordable.

“The supply of these vegetables should gradually return to normal over the coming weeks, as more stock becomes available.”

A Countdown spokesperson says additional supplies have been made available to the Bay of Plenty.

“There are definite challenges at the moment across a variety of fruit and veges around the country due to the weather. Overall there is less supply available as produce is obviously highly susceptible to weather conditions.

“We have really good direct relationships with our local growers and suppliers so we're doing what we can to ensure we have supply wherever possible.”

Wild Earth Organics manager Rachel Miller says their Tauranga store has felt the effects of the shortage keenly, particularly as all their produce must be organic.

“Mostly lettuce, spinach and broccoli have been affected,” she says.

“If a head of broccoli gets a truckload of rain on it, it can get disease and black rot, and that's it, you have to replant. Or if a lettuce gets waterlogged, it's over.”

Although they try to source locally, they have suppliers across the North Island, and most have been affected.

“Three of our growers have lost their spinach. It's been a tough season

“I've been in this business for 35 years, and this is probably one of the worst seasons I've seen. It's not just the rain, either – I think there's a little element of climate change involved too. February and March were once the months for booking holidays for stable weather, but we haven't really had that this year.”

She also believes it's been a strange season for fruits.

“The flavour is also not so good for some fruits, like pears and nashis. Grapes are also getting damaged from rain and wasps.”

If you can supply organic produce for Rachel, she says feel free to get in touch.



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