CHICAGO — The cool and very wet weather that pervaded the Midwest the past two summers wreaked havoc with produce growers throughout the region, and this area was no exception.
In fact, even if growers in the nearby Chicagoland area weren’t affected greatly, the area’s wholesale distributors source from many surrounding states that were affected much worse.
Bob Scaman, president and chief executive officer of Goodness Greeness Inc., an organic produce distributor on the city’s south side, said he’d seen the effects in organics.
“It affected organic producers in the area greatly,” Scaman said. “Wisconsin is pretty much the center point of organic production in the Midwest. They’ve had floods each of the last two years. This year’s were pretty bad, but the 2008 floods were a disaster. Fortunately for us, they’re not producers we rely on a lot.”
Scaman said the much lower-than-normal temperatures also delayed the harvest of some crops in the area, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“Cold weather might have staved off harvest some, which might’ve helped, because some markets were soft with oversupply,” he said. “So, it all worked out.”
Those distributors who source product from elsewhere, like potato and onion distributor Agrow Fresh Produce Co. Inc., didn’t have to concern themselves with the weird Midwest summer weather.
Ed Romanelli, vice president of sales, was more concerned with conditions in Idaho, California and Washington State, among other regions. And as it turned out, there was no reason for concern at all.
“It’s been exceptional,” Romanelli said. “It’s the same situation as last year. Hundredweight has been huge. It looks like prices are going to stay down, which will be good for retailers.”