Freezing temperatures across a wide swath of Mexico the night of Feb. 3-4 have made a big impact in available fresh produce. Expect the effects to be felt in your supermarket any day now.
From The Packer Feb 4th, 2011
By Andy Nelson
The freeze reached fields as far south as southern Sinaloa. Crops in the border state of Sonora could be devastated.
“The last time there was a freeze of this severity was 1957,” said Jerry Wagner, director of sales and marketing for Nogales, Ariz.-based Farmer’s Best. “It’s still too early to tell, but there’s a lot of damage.”
All of the growing regions Farmer’s Best ships from suffered freezing temperatures, Wagner said. The company’s full line of vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash, was likely affected.
One industry veteran told Jesse Driskill, operations manager of the Nogales office of Meyer LLC, that Mexico had not had a freeze like this in 60 years.
What made this one even worse, Driskill said, is that forecasts were 5 to 10 degrees higher than what temperatures wound up being. Many growers took precautions, he said, but they did not harvest early because they did not expect it to get so cold.
From the Digital Journal
Mexico loses 80-100% of crops to freeze, US prices to skyrocket
Houston – The cold weather experienced across much of the US in early February made its way deep into Mexico and early reports estimate 80-100 percent crop losses which are having an immediate impact on prices at US grocery stores with more volatility to come.
Wholesale food suppliers have already sent notices to supermarket retailers describing the produce losses in Mexico and the impact shoppers can expect. Sysco sent out a release(pdf) this week stating the early February freeze reached as far south as Los Mochis and south of Culiacan, both located in the state of Sinaloa, along the Gulf of California. The freezing temperatures were the worst the region has seen since 1957. According to Sysco’s notice sent out this week:
“The early reports are still coming in but most are showing losses of crops in the range of 80 to 100%. Even shade house product was hit by the extremely cold temps. It will take 7-10 days to have a clearer picture frome growers and field supervisors, but these growing regions haven’t had cold like this in over half a century.”
At this time of year, Mexico is a major supplier to the US and Canada for green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, asparagus, peppers and round and Roma tomatoes. Compounding the problem is the freezing cold that hit Florida in December and January. Sysco continued with its dire report:
“Florida normally is a major supplier for these items as well but they have already been struck with severe freeze damage in December and January and up until now have had to purchase product out of Mexico to fill their commitments, that is no longer an option.”
Validating that statement, The Packer released a statement at the end of December stating:
“Freeze damage to Florida crops could increase demand for Mexican vegetables for the rest of winter, grower-shippers say.”
That December report noted Florida’s cold temperatures and crop loss but was optimistic over Mexico’s produce, even if prices were climbing. “My gut feeling tells me the Mexican deal is going to be very active,” said Ken Maples, sales manager for Plantation Produce in Mission, Texas, according to The Packer.