Unseasonable weather and a string of hurricanes have greatly impacted the supply chain this fall.
Many parts of the United States have been devastated by hurricanes since late August – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate all powered their way through the U.S., and Hurricane Jose caused tropical storm force winds across the U.S. seaboard. There's no denying these storms were disastrous on so many levels, but another part of the aftermath you may not have expected is that quality of some produce has gone down, and the prices have gone up.
Shoppers across the nation are noticing that produce, especially leafy vegetables, are thinning on shelves due to a shortage after damage to crops thanks to one of the busiest hurricane seasons since 2005. Hot temperatures are making matters worse for producers who may not have been affected by the hurricanes, but still have fragile produce that's suffered because it's not heat tolerant.
Over the weekend, a Twitter user shared a snapshot of a notice in a local Panda Express warning customers that their iconic beef and broccoli dish has now become “beef and green beans”, thanks to the shortage.
According to an early October product report put out by US Foods, a leading producer and distributor of many of the ingredients you shop for in your supermarket, heat damage has affected more than broccoli crops – iceberg and romaine lettuce yields have been poor due to unusual temperatures for this time of year, and cauliflower has suffered too.
If you’re looking for a fresh vegetable that hasn’t been affected by weather conditions, both green beans and asparagus are reportedly both safe choices. Markets are seeing increased availability for these staples, according to US Foods, which may explain why diners have seen Panda Express make that ingredient substitution specifically.
With hurricane season slowly winding down and temperatures expected to drop further in the eastern and northern sections of the United States in the next few weeks, waiting is the only solution. Until producers can catch up to demand, it might be best to stick to other greens.