Welcome relief to the Salinas Valley has come in the form of a cold front
moving into Northern California clearing some of the smoke and haze.
Shifting winds are likely to bring a return of the haze next week as a major
wildfire (The Dolan fire) continues to rage to the southwest at only 40%
containment, and other fires to the north and east will also contribute to
potential smoke cover and haze moving back into the region.
The main effect of this general haze and smoke cover shading the sun
has been cooler temperatures slowing the growth rates of many of the
tender leaf items while also reducing yields. Some of the field packed leaf
items will continue to show a light dusting of ash near the base of the heads
from the recent wildfires in the region.
The recent heat events have caused external and internal damage
depending on the crop, field location, and stage of growth. While heat-related
problems (fringe and tip burn, discoloration, weaker texture) will continue for
the near term the weather pattern has drastically increased mold, mildew,
and especially virus and disease pressure in the fields.
Some fields will be left behind as yields are down 20-50% in the iceberg,
romaine, broccoli, and cauliflower stands. These growing conditions have
also brought on increased insect pressure further impacting yields. Harvesting
crews are heavily trimming heads to cull defects, however many of these
issues are not easily apparent to the crews at pack out. All these factors will
cause growers to reach for supplies and enter younger, stronger acreage to
fill demand lessening overall supplies as the season begins to wind down.
On the other side of the country, Hurricane Sally made landfall near the
Alabama/Florida border and continues to dump heavy precipitation as it
tracks to the northeast. Early reports indicate tremendous rains across
Northern Florida, Alabama, and parts of Georgia. At this point, growers will
be entering the fields for assessments over the next few days, and we will
bring you their assessments once that information is attained.
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