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North America

Northeast cold snap causes minor disruptions

Despite headlines of bomb cyclones and snowstorms dominating the start of 2018, growers in the northeast part of the United States and Ontario, Canada report only mild hassles due to the weather.

“Other than the disruption yesterday from a road condition standpoint, we are faring pretty well these days,” said Anthony DeAngelis of Christopher Ranch in Edison, NJ of late last week’s weather.

Indeed, Gotham Greens in Brooklyn, NY had a few employees face weather-related difficulties in making it to work. “But the weather hasn’t had an adverse effect on our ability to harvest,” says Viraj Puri of Gotham. He also notes that given Gotham’s greenhouse setting in urban centers, it’s located close to its customers. “So locating our greenhouses in the heart of New York City and Chicago, in hyper proximity to the markets we serve, we can eliminate supply chain disruptions,” he adds.

Photo: Gotham Greens

The greenhouse effect
However, other greenhouses, particularly those located in Ontario, are feeling the effect. “These low temperatures will impact our heating costs and potentially cause transportation delays due to poor road conditions,” says Leona Neill of Kingsville, Ont.-based Red Sun Farms. “However the environment within the greenhouse and DCs are all controlled and therefore not impacted by external conditions.”

Over at Nightingale Farms in LaSalette, Ont., Bill Nightingale Jr. shares the same hydro concerns. “The cold weather is making our natural gas costs jump in the organic pepper greenhouses with the small plants growing,” he says. “It looks like double last year which means very high start up costs.”

Photo: Gotham Greens

Demand strong 
And it seems even despite the challenges of customers getting out the door in the cold weather, demand for produce has seen little effect. “Demand has remained strong despite the weather,” says Puri. “In New York, we saw some reduced retail foot traffic due to the snowstorm but this didn’t have a meaningful effect on demand. Also, January is typically marked by strong retail sales as many consumers choose to do more home cooking and meal preparation post-Holidays.”

Jordan Kniaziew agrees. “This cold snap has been great for us,” says Kniaziew of Leamington, Ont.’s Zing! Health Forward. “We’ve seen an increase in sales for our peppers since families are staying in out of the cold and eating heartier comfort foods like stuffed peppers.”

For more information:
Anthony DeAngelis
Christopher Ranch LLC
Tel: +1 732-417-1144

Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens

Leona Neill
Red Sun Farms
Tel: +1 (519) 733-3663

Bill Nightingale Jr.
Nightingale Farms Ltd.
Tel: +1- 519 582-2461

Jordan Kniaziew
Zing! Health Forward
Tel: +1 (226) 280-1025

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