Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips, beets… It’s one of the worst years for winter vegetables. The quality and quantity of inventory affects its price and availability.

Wait -you have to pay more for your winter vegetables

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It's a very bad year for vegetables that are stored for the winter.

  • Élise Madé (View profile)Élise Madé

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“All of North America suffered from poor harvests, both in terms of quality and quantity and in all the root vegetables that we store for the winter,” explains Guy Milette, vice -president and director of Courchesne Larose, one of the largest wholesalers, importers and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada.

Root vegetables and onions will therefore be sold more expensively in grocery stores this year. According to Guy Milette, root vegetables will cost 20 to 40% more than last year. Beets, for their part, are twice as expensive as in 2023.

Patrice Léger Bourgoin, general director of the Association of Quebec Market Gardeners (APMQ), speaks of catastrophic field losses in 2023.

Two words: climate change. The season began with a frost on the ground in early June. We then had a short period of drought. It all culminated with episodes of heavy rain in July and August. It's unheard of, he explains.

The main market gardening regions of Quebec were affected, namely Montérégie, Lanaudière, Estrie and Centre-du-Québec. Ontario, Canada's main producer of root vegetables along with Quebec, also suffered.

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Warehouse quantities for winter periods are lower than in previous years. The harvested product seems to meet quality standards, but it can deteriorate in storage, explains Patrice Léger Bourgoin.

It's excess water which mainly affects the conservation of vegetables: humidity leads to a proliferation of different fungi which accelerate the degradation of the product.

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Carrots and beets are particularly susceptible to rotting due to rain.

This year, we see it particularly in onions. It is estimated that 25% of red onion products in warehouses are at risk, adds the general director of the APMQ.

Michel Rochette, president of Retail Council of Canada, Quebec office, indicates that many simultaneous problems have disrupted the food supply chain in the last year, whether climate change, the war in Ukraine, increases in the cost of energy and labor, among others.

He believes that food retailers have made considerable efforts to supply all regions of Canada and maintain reasonable prices in a difficult context.

The Food inflation has been less bad in Canada than anywhere else in the world, despite a larger territory and a smaller population, says Michel Rochette.

Can we expect to run out of winter vegetables in the coming months? It is certain that we will not run out of them, believes Guy Milette. On the other hand, the vegetables may no longer come from Quebec. When we finish the winter season or the storage season, we go to a vegetable that is imported.

Imported vegetables will arrive in grocery stores more quickly this year, two to four months earlier than expected. In this month of February, we are already completing the sale of the last volumes of certain local vegetables, such as Quebec carrots.

Canada, Ontario and the United States did not have good harvests. We will have to import and go further and further to get our fruits and vegetables.

A quote from Guy Milette, vice-president and director of Courchesne Larose

The other bad news is that imported vegetables won't be any cheaper. For imported products, transportation and logistics costs are passed on to consumers.

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Imported vegetables will arrive sooner in our grocery stores. And they will not be any cheaper.

We have issues surrounding the accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables. The increase in prices leads to a drop in consumption, and this is worrying for vulnerable customers, explains Patrice Léger Bourgoin.

According to the general director of the APMQ, we must not let our guard down on our food autonomy, since there are dangers in depending on the import market . This market also has climate issues to supply its local consumers, he underlines.

The biggest danger facing the consumer is taking accessibility to products for granted.

A quote from Patrice Léger Bourgoin, general director of the Association of Quebec Market Gardeners

In an interview on the show L'écoli, André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and x27;Food, affirms that agricultural production over the last year has experienced a fairly incredible imbalance.

We will have to adapt. […] The food system is very well balanced and it is certain that Quebecers will not lack food. But indeed, this summer, we [had] issues which mean that it is possible […] that we will have to obtain more supplies from outside, but It's not something you'd want to see consistently year after year, he says.

For wholesaler Guy Milette, in the meantime, customers should expect to pay more. It's not going to get better until the next harvest which, we hope, will be much better than 2022-2023, he says.

A good idea to stock up?

You have to be careful what we want to buy in quantity, because often, when we have harvest problems like we had this year, the quality of the products is not necessarily optimal and does not lead to conservation. in the long term, explains Guy Milette.

With information from Myriam Fehmiu, Johane Despins and Élise Madé

By admin

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