Early reports indicate that the impact of Hurricane Otis, a Category 5 hurricane that landed near Acapulco early Wednesday morning, is minimal on produce.

“Yesterday, I would have told you we were expecting to lose 1 to 1 ½ days of harvest due to the hurricane's path looking like it was going straight through Michoacan,” says Keith Slattery of Stonehill Produce Inc. “This morning’s report shows it east of Michoacan and they are expecting to be able to pick today and tomorrow. Volume may be decreased slightly.”

At Calavo Growers Inc., Peter Shore concurs that the avocado-producing areas didn’t receive much rain. “They are a distance away from the coast. We’re expecting harvest to be limited tomorrow but that’s about it. Rain is needed in the growing areas,” he says.

Photo: National Hurricane Center

Minimal wind damage?
The hurricane also came south of the papaya growing region for HLB Specialties. “We don’t expect too much of an impact in terms of wind damage. However, the rains may be a factor on top of what has been already a wetter-than-normal October in Michoacan. This is delaying the maturation of our papaya fields,” says Andres Ocampo of HLB.

In fact, reports are that in the area where the hurricane made landfall, the harvest wasn’t a produce-intensive region. “As the storm weakens and moves inland, it remains to be seen if produce areas get hit with a lot of rain,” says Michael Martori of Stella Farms.

Over at Produce House LLC, Raquel Espinoza is also watching how the remnants of the storm move inland. “Produce from north of the Republic of Mexico had received rain from the previous Hurricane Norma,” she says. “Production is thriving and we will continue as normal. We expect temperatures to drop as expected as fall comes in.”

For more information:
Keith Slattery
Stonehill Produce Inc.

Peter Shore
Calavo Growers Inc.

Andres Ocampo
HLB Specialties

Mike Martori
Stella Farms

Raquel Espinoza
Produce House LLC