Winter Is Upon Us

 

With the first official day of winter quickly creeping up on us, I am reminded of the conditions that arrived with winter just one year ago. Remember seeing lots of newspaper titles such as Florida Freeze To Push Up Produce Prices, Florida Freeze Cuts Produce Supply, Sends Prices Higher and Bad Weather Causes Wholesale Prices… To Shoot Up?

On February 14, 2010, a total of 49 states in the United States received some measure of snow. The only one that did not is Hawaii. It seems crazy, but it did happen. And of course, many areas of the country that grow winter crops such as lettuce, tomatoes, citrus, and berries were entirely unprepared for this.

If you don’t remember the news about the terrible weather last year, perhaps you remember the strain on your wallet that was caused by high fruit and vegetable costs. Or the fact that restaurants all over the country found themselves rearranging their menus to exclude tomatoes, one of the most effected crops, from their menus. This is just one example of how vulnerable food and food prices are to inclement weather. Sure, it doesn’t snow that often in Florida. But as we learned last year, that doesn’t mean that it won’t.

This month, we’ve already seen a major cold snap all across the country. Here in Norfolk, we’ve been fortunate. The average temperatures lately have been highs in the 30s and 40s, and lows in the 20s- nothing extreme. But interestingly, many areas south of us, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, have all experienced unusually cold weather lately. And yes, you are bound to see this reflected in your food prices.

Other areas of the country, such as Cleveland Ohio, have already received inches of snow. Some people were stranded in the cars on the highway for hours when a whiteout occurred. This is a powerful reminder that we are very vulnerable to weather. There is quite literally nothing we can do to stop or change a snowstorm when it is headed our way.

So what is the point that I am trying to make here? The point is preparation, of course. If the entire tomato crop of Florida is ruined again this year, and you have a stock of home grown canned tomatoes in your basement, then clearly this will not affect you. If you experience a terrible blizzard that leaves you and your family housebound for 4 days, don’t you want to have a fully stocked pantry of fresh, healthy foods? A survival food supply is crucial at any time of the year. This is simply a seasonal reminder that we, as humble human beings on this earth, are very vulnerable. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to be prepared.

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