More than five weeks after Cyclone Gabrielle ravaged Hawke’s Bay, Hugh Ritchie is still finding new damage on his farm. His property became a 550-hectare lake when the Waipawa River broke its banks and a wall of water slammed into the farm. With nowhere to drain, the water stuck around. Ritchie estimates he’s lost 150ha of sweetcorn, squash, beans, carrots and maize – around half of his summer crops.
Drumpeel Farm in Ōtāne is the region’s largest supplier of carrots for McCain’s frozen vegetables. But rather than preparing for harvest in early April, all that’s coming out of the ground is moldy, orange mush. “It's just making people aware that actually these things have a big impact … If you can't pick [frozen carrots] up [in the supermarket], there's a reason,” Ritchie said. McCain’s did not comment on whether carrot supplies had been affected.