As I’ve noted before, food inflation has been happening for months and months. The value of the dollar on the open market has also continued to tank, which further impacts prices.
And now we get this news from the biggest food distribution company in the country, Sysco Corporation:
All of our growers have invoked the act of god clause on our contracts (force majuere) due to the following release:
The extreme freezing temperatures hit a very broad section of major growing regions in Mexico, from Hermosillo in the north all the way south to Los Mochis and even south of Culiacan. 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 from growers and field supervisors, but these growing regions haven’t had cold like this in over a half century.
This time of year, Mexico supplies a significant percent of North America’s row crop vegetables such as green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, peppers, asparagus, and round and roma tomatoes.
Apparently this has also seriously impacted plants that have not started producing. So not only are current crops dead, but everything that was set to start producing in the next three months is also toast.
Think about what this means. It isn’t good. Suppliers are already talking about 100%-150% increases in food costs. This means that the $30 you spend each week on fresh produce will be costing you $60-$75 instead.
They are even considering plowing the fields under and leaving them idle for the year instead of growing a later crop. This would just make matters worse.
To make matters even more interesting the World Bank recently reported that food prices have hit “dangerous levels” with the global food price index jumping 29% in the last year with no end in sight.
From a timing perspective this is somewhat fortunate because we have time to get gardens up and running to help augment our food supplies with our own produce. So get cracking!
Start Your Garden Today!
If you haven’t done much (or any!) gardening, I highly recommend The All New Square Foot Gardening method from Mel Bartholomew. You can scale it up and down as much as you like.
We’ve converted all of our beds to this method and the result has been fantastic. I’ll try to go over it in a bit more detail sometime soon.
If you are looking for good seeds, I recommend the following suppliers:
Baker Creek Seed Company: http://rareseeds.com/
Johnny’s Select Seeds: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/
Pinetree Garden Seeds: http://www.superseeds.com/
Seeds of Change: http://www.seedsofchange.com/
Have any other good suppliers? Share them with other readers in the comments!
If starting from seeds is a daunting prospect for you feel free to hit up the local nurseries for plants that are well suited for your area. I do recommend that you avoid the big box stores for the most part, since those plants are pretty generic, and have often been traveling around the country for a while.
Now is the time to be planning and in some parts of the country even starting your garden. You have no excuse! Get it done!