As you may know, we've had a series of cold fronts passing through the state of Florida in recent days. We've received a lot of questions about how this weather affects supplies of products traditionally produced in Florida during the winter months. Here's a quick recap:
Strawberry supplies will be tight throughout the industry for the next six to eight weeks. Florida is basically wiped out at the same time that Mexico is cool and rainy and California is cool with rain in the forecast. Not a great recipe for strawberries, but not that unusual for the season either! There will be limited strawberries in the marketplace - certainly less than we would wish for!
Happily, blueberry supplies (from Chile) are very good this year and are an excellent substitution for strawberries. Additionally we're excited be offering organic mangoes in multiple markets for the next several weeks. Our featured mangoes are certified organic Kent mangoes from the Piura region of Northern Peru. About half of our Kents are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, while another portion is certified Fair Trade. The Kent mango is known for its sweet rich flavor, and smooth, buttery texture and is an excellent substitute for berries. Don't let the Kent's green skin fool you - it's ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch! It's not a strawberry, but it makes a great addition to any fruit salad or smoothie!
Florida tomatoes were also very hard hit in the most recent freeze this past weekend. It will be approximately 8 weeks before we see East Coast supplies of field grown tomatoes recover. In the meantime we'll be offering alternatives from the hothouse.
East coast bunching greens were impacted by the freeze as well, but we expect these items to recover more quickly than tomatoes or strawberries. We don't expect our customers to feel any discernable impact and we'll fill in from Western regions until the East Coast is back into production.
Lastly, since most of our Florida citrus suppliers are very close to the coast, they were somewhat insulated from the coldest temperatures and we don't expect a dramatic affect on citrus supplies at Whole Foods Market.
Our fingers are crossed that we're through the worst of the winter weather - the 10 day forecast looks pretty good! - and that our growers can get back to doing what they do best ASAP.