Mushroom supply disrupted as hurricane damage tightens market
Produce Update for 10/03/17
Damage suffered by mushroom growers in the South and Southeast, as well as Puerto Rico, from hurricanes Harvey and Irma has resulted in a tightening market, and the American Mushroom Institute said it expects supply to be affected for several months.
The back-to-back hurricanes caused heavy rains, flooding and an extended disruption of electrical power, an integral component of maintaining the proper environment for growing mushrooms. From compost to harvesting, the growing process depends heavily on electricity, in the form of climate-controlled growing houses, coolers and more.
The lack of power during and after the hurricanes has caused mushroom farms in the affected areas to dispose of the crops in all stages of production. Heavy rains also affected the farms, where the raw ingredients used in producing the growing medium (the substrate or compost) that contains the nutrients needed to produce the crop were damaged.
The affected regions accounted for over $281 million in sales last year. While recent weather events are a regional problem, mushroom farmers from around the country are working hard to fulfill orders as the holiday season approaches and demand ramps up. The holiday cooking season produces a 20-30 percent increase in demand for fresh mushrooms, according to a major shipper.
“Every grower in the mushroom farming community is doing everything possible to supply their customers during this challenging time of demand for fresh mushrooms outpacing supply,” said Lori Harrison, director of communications for AMI.
-The Produce News
Produce Update for 03/15/17
Gaps in supplies on multiple items in the Yuma, AZ growing region continues to drive markets up wildly. Based on this short supply situation and the advancing markets associated with these conditions we will be implementing a secondary temporary price increase on romaine. Effective Wednesday 3/15/2017
Produce Update for 03/14/17
Predictions of a turbulent finish to the desert season have become reality. Fields, once vigorous and green have gradually migrated to a tired spectrum of green, yellow, and brown. Harvest crew workmanship is being tested at levels rarely seen this past year. Variable weather patterns in all growing regions have increased the likelihood of a GAP for several commodities. Over the past 8 weeks, Yuma yields have been dramatically reduced by unseasonably fluctuating weather. Most recently, a Heat Wave has not only decreased yields but will also end the season ahead of the schedule. Temperatures this week are expected to be in excess of 90 degrees (more than 15 degrees above “normal” levels) and are expected to continue into the following week. This is taking its toll on quality for the remaining Yuma harvest.
Weather-related damage to remaining harvest has created scenarios where “Quality Exceptions” for Lettuce and Leafy Greens are a necessity. It is reasonable to expect that product harvested for the remainder of March will show issues in excess of typical in-house or USDA specifications to varying degrees. Our internal specifications for quality at harvest point remain unchanged; however, the inevitability of delivered product falling outside of “normal” specifications is clear.
Despite the numerous negative influences on quality we will face over this period, our unwavering goal remains to provide produce that is “as good as the best or better than the rest”. Volatility in supply is inevitable and communication and collaboration are the keys to actively navigate the associated turmoil in supply and quality.
-Tanimura & Antle