(April 23) Nasty weather that slammed the Northeast also deluged produce distributors and grocery sellers with inventories they could not sell.

Downpours from the nor’easter storm, which struck the region April 15-16, also kept many grower-shippers from planting summer crops. The storm flooded roads and homes and caused evacuations — many by boat — in New Jersey and in New York suburbs.

Paul Berger, executive vice president and produce director for Food City Markets, an Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based supermarket chain, said the foul weather created many puddles and traffic jams that kept shoppers from walking or driving to neighborhood stores.

“The way we see it, you could have bowled down the aisle and not hit anybody,” he said. “It was completely devastated as far as business goes. No one was coming out.”

The outburst caused a significant drop in demand for D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., a grower-shipper that distributes from the Hunt’s Point Produce Market in the Bronx.

The weather problems backed up grocery store inventories and in turn clogged produce deliveries to New York-area customers, said Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president.

Market distributors such as D’Arrigo Bros. did not experience any real delivery problems, he said, because many of their customers didn’t need any produce.

“That’s what really took the big hit from this storm,” D’Arrigo said. “We had two days where it was a chore to get out and go shopping.”

The storm caused some delivery problems for RLB Food Distributors, West Caldwell, N.J. Floodwaters closed roads in nearby Lincoln Park, N.J., and Fairfield, N.J., on April 18, said Jeff Shilling, vice president of procurement.

High waters prevented RLB from delivering to a Hillsdale, N.J., store the evening of April 15. The retail distributor, however, was able to make delivery the following day.

Shilling said the weather could cause some delays in the New Jersey vegetable crop. He said growers planned to inspect fields by April 20 and may have to replant their vegetables. Though he said it was too early to provide a damage estimate, Shilling said the flooded fields could cause some delays to the deal.

Despite the weather, South Hackensack, N.J.-based Maurice A. Auerbach didn’t experience any significant delivery problems, said Ian Zimmerman, a salesman.

Though the weather caused some late worker arrivals, business remained normal for the garlic, asparagus and specialty produce importer and distributor, Zimmerman said.

“This area received a good bit of water,” he said. “But it didn’t affect us too much. We got our trucks out.”

In western New York’s vegetable growing region, heavy rains delayed plantings at Torrey Farms, Inc., Elba, N.Y.

“There’s water standing everywhere,” said Maureen Marshall, vice president. “We’re very wet. The ground temperature is very cold.”

The bad weather delayed planting, Marshall said, by three weeks. She said the region needs a good week to dry out before growers can commence any fieldwork.

The deluge also delayed planting in the onion growing region north of New York, said John Cavallaro, treasurer with AJ Cavallaro & Sons Inc., Goshen, N.Y.

Soggy fields kept the grower-shipper, which has 200 acres of red and yellow onions, from entering fields. Planting for this season should start April 25-26, nearly three weeks later than the growers’ normal April 10 start, Cavallaro said.