France: Cauliflower and artichokes become victims of the weather in Pas-de-Calais

The frost and the rains have severely impacted fruit productions, but vegetables have also suffered some losses. In Clairmarais (Pas-de-Calais), the Morel brothers are reporting on the damage to their crop.

“This part has been flooded,” explains Xavier Morel about his cauliflower with flabby yellow-tinted leaves. The fields are gorged with water. Just in June, it rained twice as much as the average of the past 30 years. “I have lost about 50,000 of my 180,000 cauliflower heads,” estimates the producer.

For the artichokes, it is not the rain but the frost. “Usually, we manage to get what we need from the local producers, but this year, we have to offer products from Bretagne for sale,” explains Laura Thiebaut, who sells Clairmarais vegetables. “Frost in December is not problematic because the artichokes are sleeping then. Just like the apple trees which do not like frost when they’re in bloom, artichokes do not like frost when they wake up,” explains Xavier Morel.

According to Xavier Morel, these weather conditions are likely to recur in the future. “It is as if the seasons are shifting, with the cold coming later.” A shift in the harvest, just like the pumpkins that came early this year, although the autumn hasn’t started yet.

But the producers must also deal with the presence of muskrats which ravage the crops. “There are a lot of them this year and they eat the cauliflowers very early which prevents them from growing. Some years ago, we were placing poisoned carrots in the fields at the end of winter. It helped reduce the population, but we are no longer allowed to do so.”


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