Skip to comments.Produce prices skyrocket overnight
Posted on 02/12/2011 9:57:30 AM PST by FromLori
Get ready to pay double or even triple the price for fresh produce in the coming weeks after the worst freeze in 60 years damaged and wiped out entire crops in northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.
The problem started less than a week ago, when our nation was focusing on the Superbowl and sheets of ice falling from Texas Stadium.
Farmers throughout northern Mexico and the Southwest experienced unprecedented crop losses. Now devastation that seemed so far away, is hitting us in the pocketbooks.
"We've had to double and triple some prices and consumers come in and it's quite a shock to them," said Rusty Peake, GM of Food4Less in Southeast Portland.
"Increase, increase, increase," said produce manager Troy Winterhalter as he watched urgent messages coming across his laptop computer. "Peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, asparagus, the entire asparagus crop was wiped out," said Winterhalter.
Roma tomatoes have more than doubled in price since Thursday and very soon they may not be available at all. About the only produce not impacted by the freeze in the coming weeks are things grown right here in the Northwest like potatoes, onions and apples.
(Excerpt) Read more at kgw.com ...
Global warming strikes again. That and QE II , soon to be QE III
Just in time for Michelle’s Healthy Food Blitzkrieg.
I don’t want crops from Mexico anyway.
Now Chile — their produce is usually good. It’s generally safe. With Mexico, who knows what kind of krap you’re getting with your produce?
For your respective ping-lists....
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
Yesterday at the store, strawberries were....$4.95 per pint! >>>>>
Whole chickens go for $1.09-$1.19...Cheaper than veggies ! ! !
Have to admit I’ve been buying strawberries at $4.99 per pound locally. Expensive, but they have been really good.
One should never buy produce that is traditionally out of season if you want to save money. It’s always going to be more expensive. For example, apples and oranges are usually reasonable this time of year. Peaches and nectarines usually aren’t. About the only time there is a reduction in price for out-of-season produce is when the stores can’t sell them.
Quite a few folks are thinking that ‘hyperinflation’ could lead to a ‘revolution’.
Careful what you wish for..
And better for you, too.
There is an answer to this and it is called, GREEN HOUSES. The Netherlands produces not only enough produce for their own country, but exports it as well. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON our fresh produce cannot be grown locally (in most locales).
Finally, a legitimate reason not to eat Asparagus... :)
Definitely fruits and vegetables in season are cheaper and the way to go. I see Chilean nectarines and peaches. I don’t bother with them. Occasionally I buy out of season like the Ataulfo Mango from Mexico yesterday. Never had one before
A long time ago, we didn’t have fresh produce available during the winter and we made it through just fine.
True to turd world culture, they literlaay CRAP on the crops. No kidding. Those that eat “organic” only have the most to fear. Natural human waste is good fertilizer - cheap and plentiful in Mexico and other organic farms tended by Mexicans and other STUPID people.
Yes, the recalls have been traced back to ORGANIC food. Salmonella and E. coli bacteria THRIVE in these highly praised UNSANITARY conditions.
The Hidden Dangers in Organic Food
Products most people think are purer than other foods are making people seriously ill.
November 1, 1998 (YES, it’s been KNOWN for a LONG TIME!)
by Dennis T. Avery
According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and “natural” foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157: H7). This new E. coli is attacking tens of thousands of people per year, all over the world. It is causing permanent liver and kidney damage in many of its victims. The CDC recorded 2,471 confirmed cases of E. coli 0157: H7 in 1996 and estimated that it is causing at least 250 deaths per year in the United States alone.
Consumers of organic food are also more likely to be attacked by a relatively new, more virulent strain of the infamous salmonella bacteria. Salmonella was Americas biggest food-borne death risk until the new E. coli O157 came along.
Organic food is more dangerous than conventionally grown produce because organic farmers use animal manure as the major source of fertilizer for their food crops. Animal manure is the biggest reservoir of these nasty bacteria that are afflicting and killing so many people.
Organic farmers compound the contamination problem through their reluctance to use antimicrobial preservatives, chemical washes, pasteurization, or even chlorinated water to rid their products of dangerous bacteria. One organic grower summed up the communitys attitude as follows: “Pasteurization has only been around a hundred years or so; what do they think people did before that?”
The answer is simple. They died young.
To be sure, it is an overstatement to say, as one physician recently did, that organic food is “grown in animal manure.” Few organic farmers actually put fresh manure on their crops. Most of them compost the manure for several weeks before using it on their crops. But the composting guidelines have been fuzzy and are probably inadequate. A common rule of thumb is to compost for two months at 130 degrees F. or better. The bad news is that a study by Dr. Dean Cliver of the University of California at Davis found that the deadly new E. coli 0157 bacteria can live at least seventy days in a compost pileand it probably takes an extended period at 160-degree heat to kill it.
Few organic farmers use thermometers to check the safety of their compost piles, or even keep accurate records on how long a given mass of compost has been sitting. For most organic farmers, management of their natural fertilizer is a casual matter of shifting compost piles around with a tractor-mounted front-end loader.
The real surprise is that nobody is telling the public about the new dangers from organic food, or trying to persuade organic farmers to reduce these risks. Activist groups, government, and the pressall of which have shown no reluctance to organize crusades about matters such as global warming, tobacco addiction, and the use of pesticidesare allowing organic farmers to endanger their customers without any publicity whatever. A press corps eager to find headline-worthy dangers would long ago have exposed any other farmers guilty of so blatantly and unnecessarily endangering the public. And other farmers would certainly have been condemned, or even closed down, by government regulators.
Organic foods, however, are politically favored. The Green lobby self-righteously protects them because it urgently wants the public to perceive organic farming as an environmentally benign alternative to the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. I recently criticized organic farming on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program, and the network was peppered with protest calls before the program even went on the air!
Even newspaper food editors still tell their readers that organic food is chic, healthy, and “earth-friendly.” In general, the U.S. press has been blithely abetting the scare tactics of the environmental movement for decades, and the food writers pride themselves on being at least as “green” as their colleagues on the news pages.
With truly mind-numbing aggressiveness, the organic farming advocates have even gone so far as to claim that “industrial farming” created E. coli 0157. They argue that consumers should protect themselves by buying organic products from local farmers, a “recommendation” that blatantly serves their own self-interest. The truth is, no one knows where the new E. coli strain came from, but we do know that bacteria are constantly mutating as a natural consequence of their rapid reproduction. Allowing bacteria to proliferate, as organic farmers do, is not the way to minimize mutations.
Strangely Silent Regulators
Federal regulators have largely been cowed into silence. The intensity with which organic-farming believers and eco-activists defend their old-fashioned type of agriculture rivals the intensity of the religious fanatic. For instance, one consumer recently said, “I think trying to eliminate the poisons and pesticides from our food is a great way to eliminate the chemical industrys destruction of the earth.” As a consequence of such attitudes, the CDC has neglected its responsibility to warn the public about the newly increased dangers of organic foods. One CDC doctorDr. Robert Tauxe, Chief of the CDCs Food-Borne Diseases Branchwrote an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 8, 1997) highlighting the dangers of “organically grown, unprocessed foods produced without pesticides or preservatives.” The CDC was promptly flooded with angry phone calls from passionate believers in organic farming. The doctor now says that he “doesnt know” whether organic food is more dangerous than conventionally produced food. The CDC has refused to grant interviews on the subject.
With similar obtuseness, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently issued a draft of a new consumer brochure highlighting the unproven “dangers” from pesticide residuesand recommending organic foods. But after forty years and billions of dollars in research, scientists are still looking for the first victim of pesticide residues, whereas the new E. coli strain attacked thousands of Americans last year. Many of these victims suffered permanent internal organ damage, and hundreds of them died. The EPAs draft brochure on pesticide residues simply appears to reflect the antipesticide biases of the agencys administrator, Carol Browner, and her political patron, Vice President Gore.
Other federal agencies have displayed the same bias. The Food and Drug Administration, for instance, has failed to issue any warnings to consumers about the higher levels of natural toxins their researchers regularly find in organic foods. And the Department of Agriculture, which employs some of the worlds best food scientists, goes out of its way to court the organic-farming supporters and allied eco-activists, and makes a strenuous effort to find good things to say about “alternative agriculture.”
“Natural food” proponents claim that organic farming is “earth-friendly,” but its not. The ugly secret of organic farming is that its yields are only about half as high as those of mainstream farmers. Approximately one-third of the average organic farm is not planted to marketable crops at all; it is planted to green manure crops (such as clover) to build up the nitrogen fertility of the soil. If the organic farmers gave up animal manure as a nitrogen source, the percentage of land they keep in green manure crops would have to become even higher. Mainstream farmers take their nitrogen from the air, through an industrial process that requires no land to be taken from nature.
Also, the organic farmers suffer higher losses from destruction by pests. They expect it. Books on organic farming tell their readers to live with it. “Im lucky to get half as much yield from my organic acres as from my regular fields,” said the manager of a 50,000-acre cooperative farm in England. His experience is confirmed by numerous studies from a dozen different countries.
Need for Higher Yields
For all these reasons, widespread organic farming is simply not a viable option at this time. The first consequence of a global shift to organic farming would be the plowdown of at least six-million square miles of wildlife habitat to make up for the lower yields of organic production. That is more than the total land area of the United States.
Agriculture already takes up 36 percent of the worlds land surface. (All the worlds cities cover only 1.5 percent.) A world with a peak population of 8.5 billion affluent people in 2050 will need at least 2.5 times as much farm output as we have today.
Absent a worldwide catastrophe involving billions of human deaths, this demand is inevitable. We will not be able to count on people to change their diets and accept less protein. There is no global trend toward vegetarianism today, nor any sign of one. In America, for example, less than 4 percent of the population is vegetarian, and 95 percent of U.S. vegetarians consume milk, cheese, eggs, and other expensive calories. Less than 0.05 percent of the affluent people in the world give up livestock products completely.
In fact, the worldwide trend is in the opposite direction. Countries such as China, India, and South Korea are leading the biggest surge in demand for meat and milk the world has ever seen. It is now probably too late to save wildlands by preventing people from acquiring a taste for meat and milk, and there is certainly no sign of mass conversions to vegetarianism around the globe.
If the world does not triple the yields on the high-quality land currently in farming, we will pay the price not in human famine but in forests and wild meadows cleared to produce more meat, milk, and produce.
Modern farm chemicals are not entirely without risk, but the hazards they pose to people and wildlife are near zero and declining. For instance, Captan, one of the pesticides on the Greenpeace hit list, is one ten-millionth as carcinogenic as ordinary drinking water. EPA Administrator Browner is trying to decertify an herbicide called atrazine because a few parts per billion turn up in some of our drinking water. But Browners own staff concedes that to get above the “no-effect” level in the rat tests that ascertain cancer risk, you would have to drink 150,000 gallons of water per day for seventy years. And for nine months of the year you would have to add your own atrazine! The health risks of modern pesticides are minimal.
Nonetheless, advocates of organic farming like to ask, “Whats more dangerous, pesticides or horse manure?” The answer may surprise them. Researchers are still looking for the first human death from pesticide residues, fifty years after DDT was introduced and thirty years after its use was banned in the United States, but manure is apparently claiming lives almost daily through bacterial contamination of organic food.
Nor do modern pesticides pose a significant risk to wildlife. They are more narrowly targeted, degrade more rapidly, and are better designed to avoid wildlife impact than the early, more persistent pesticides. Also, they are often used in integrated pest management systems to minimize the amount and frequency of treatments, and are applied with computer-calculated precision. The new glyphosate and sulfanylurea weed killers are no more toxic to birds and fish than table salt, and one tiny tablet treats an entire acre. Quite simply, when used properly these substances are not dangerous to anything but the pests they are designed to regulate.
Giving up pesticides would mean the certain destruction of millions of square miles of wildlands, much of it in the species-rich tropics. Because much of the worlds biodiversity is in those lands, a move toward widespread organic farming would cost nature far more than the careful use of todays safe, narrowly targeted pesticides, high-powered seeds, and factory-produced fertilizers.
Organic food buyers are, unfortunately, twice losers: They and their families accept deadly risks from truly dangerous new food-borne microorganisms, and, at the same time, their choices increase the likelihood that the people of the next century will plow down massive tracts of wildlife habitat to make way for low-yield crops.
Unless the press and government agencies fulfill their obligation to warn people of the dangers of these foods, the number of such incidents will continue to rise. These risks are easy to overcome, but farmers and consumers must know the dangers and act accordingly.
Dennis T. Avery is based in Churchville, VA, and is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues.
Just think! You get to PAY MORE and have MORE DEADLY HEALTH PROBLEMS. Heck who needs “death panels”? People are happily doing themselves in to “save the earth”.
I’ve packed my walk in pantry full as well as three freezers. I’m baking bread as I type. Tomato seedlings go in next week as well as the standard cow peas and squash, lettuce and kale for the spring garden. Right now chicken, pork and beef haven’t reflected the new prices so I’m stocked up big time. I noticed 25 pound bags of salt are no longer available but 25 lb. bags of flour still are. I think 30 lbs. of sugar, rice and flour ought to do, for now. I’m still finding bargains on seasonal produce. Apples are ridiculous here in Florida. I pick my own lemons and grapefruit and the local strawberries are cheaper than the Cali type.
So screw them, at least for the next six months!
I bought fresh turnips and spinach this morning at a winter farmer’s market. They are hotbox and greenhouse grown and local.
I’ve noticed a jump in onions, one of my staples. Also, the price differential in the “organic” vs. regular pears has become small enough that I buy the “organic” because I prefer the smaller size.
Good planning. I need a new freezer mine just went out last week otherwise I’m pretty well set myself.
In cold climates people had root cellars where they had apples, carrots, cabbages, more root vegetables. These were fresh. They did not eat lettuce and tomatoes in the winter...But they also had pickled cabbage and cucumbers. Sauerkraut.
In places like North Carolina a limited garden can be kept going in the winter
Yep, me too. I mostly bought heirloom but I started seeds this year rather than buying plants. I knew it would be cheaper but wow....I have more seeds than I could ever realistically grow. And the selection is way better.
I’m also trying to grow indoors. If all goes right, I’ll have lettuce by mid-March. Maybe the Mrs. won’t think I’m crazy if the price triples at the store and we are eating it free. ;)
But tomatoes are over $2# and lettuce $1.50 a small head.
Meat is far cheaper than fresh veggies here in Michigan, even local grown in season.
I guess I will live without salad for a couple of months.
Depending where you go, a small chest freezer (most economical) can run $95 to $125. Go treat yourself. Whole chicken at Sam’s is still $.89 a lb. I have 8 in the freezer. I think I need about 10 more. Whole pork loin is a real bargain if you’re not Kosher. Stock up, you’ll save hundreds if not thousands in the coming months the way we’re headed.
BTW, thanks for the Post. Florida’s freeze eliminated 1 million boxes of oranges and 1 million boxes of grapefruit. This report came out yesterday. That ought to send commodity futures zooming.
Except this is strawberry season in Fla. Plant city grows a huge % of the nations strawberries.
Some of the rules to be certified as organic are absurd.
Your welcome I plan to get one maybe even later on today if not tomorrow depending on when my husband gets home.
I might actually finish off those 12 quarts and 3 pints of mustard greens before the garden produces this year.
Fact is- there’s a breaking point for prices. Supermarkets and produce distributors should prepare to trash huge amounts of produce that the public simply will not buy. $10 lettuce,$3.O) tomatoes, exorbitant prices for anything not a necessity of life will mean the stuff rots.
Why not $50 for a bag of oranges-if they’re going to be ludicrous, it may as well be funny.
I certainly won’t buy it- so these farmers and distributors who are planning to take advantage of bad weather will end up losing in the end.
They will swear that it is PURE, wholesome, food with NO pesticides. Sigh ...
Another side effect of Global Warming is the price of cotton has skyrocketed. Cotton nearly went over $2.00 a pound this week.
Thanks Al Gore for all of this warm weather—we will not need that extra pair of long johns.
Living up north, we can only grow our own in summer. So the berries are considered out of season here.
Thank you for that article. We have become lax when it comes to food safety. I think much of the reason has to do with this strange favoritism toward Mexico. Perhaps it’s part of that da## NAFTA agreement. I don’t know. Just seems to me that since that agreement went into place, the quality and safety of foods from Mexico have really gone downhill. I doubt those foods are even inspected or regulated as they should be. Why is that? Is this country afraid of insulting Mexico? When it comes to food safety, we are on our own.
By the way, about Chile: My brother is a frequent visitor there (mostly for skiing). He told me that, contrary to popular belief, Chile is not a third world country. He assured me that the produce we get from Chile is safe. My mother always bought grapes in winter from Chile and she never had a problem with them.
Then you have Mexico, where you have to be careful of everything that you put in your mouth. I wouldn’t go near that hellhole — much less buy produce from there.
I am all for using the minimal amount of pesticides and herbicides needed to produce food.
Especially some of the nasty organophosphates that I used to use raising corn!
Most people are clueless at the relative danger posed by different things. Say a corn rootworm pesticide on one hand (very toxic to humans); and a benign herbicide like Roundup (very safe).
Organic farming ignorantly lumps everything together as a “chemical”.
I am also very in favor of smaller farms producing locally produced foods and the shrinkage of the barriers between producer and consumer.
I just detest the organic thing because it is based on ignorance.
Very similar to the global warming scam.
Celery went up from 79 cents a pound to $1.99 a pound in grocery stores in my area. The prices per pound of lettuce, carrots, and jalapenos have all risen about 20-50 cents per pound in the last week or two. I can hardly wait for summer when much of the produce we eat comes from our own garden.
Good. You won’t be sorry when you see your bounty of prepared frozen meals glistening at the bottom of your freezer ;D!
Have a good weekend Lori and keep ‘em coming!
P.S. Get a good generator (just in case).