Weather woes and tremor troubles

Pumpkin Nutella bread

Brace yourselves for an increase in the price of Nutella: a cold snap in Turkey, which produces three-quarters of the world's hazelnuts, has led to a price increase of over 60 percent for the nuts. Four hazelnut-producing Turkish provinces were hit by storms and unusual freezing weather this spring, which led to a greatly reduced harvest. Since most of the hazelnuts exported from Turkey go into products like everyone's favorite chocolate hazelnut spread, consumers can expect to see the price rise. We can breathe a sigh of relief, however, as Nutella maker Ferrero Rocher said it was "tracking this issue closely and there's no foreseeable impact on the availability of Nutella."

Moving on to more weather damage, California's Napa Valley, a major wine-producing area, has had another setback. Besieged by one of the worst droughts in decades, the area was already preparing for a premature harvest. Now it's been hit with a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, the worst to hit the Bay Area in 25 years. The quake toppled wine barrels and bottles across the area. Tom Montgomery, a winemaker for B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California, told the A.P. that his winery lost "as much as 50 percent" of its wine.

The earthquake comes just as the wine harvest is set to begin. Adam Fox, managing director of Canard Vineyard in Calistoga, told the L.A. Times "It's particularly disconcerting this time of year because we're getting close to harvest and crush. You can't afford damage to your fermentation tank or water lines. If all your barrels came crashing, where are you going to get new ones in time?"

At least one area of the United States has good weather-related food news to report. Maine apple growers are expecting a good harvest this fall, despite some hailstorms early in the season. Plentiful rainfall has produced large apples, and most growers are expecting a healthy harvest. What's the weather bringing to crops in your area?

Photo of Pumpkin Nutella bread from indexed blog Two Peas and Their Pod

2 Comments

  • hillsboroks  on  8/25/2014 at 11:33 PM

    In Oregon most of the crops are 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule this year. It has thrown gardener and farmers off a bit and everyone is scrambling to adjust but mostly it has been a great year for everything. I just heard a story about the hazelnuts on Oregon Public Broadcasting a couple of days ago. Nearly all (99%) of the hazelnuts consumed in the US are grown here in the Willamette Valley. There is a disease that is killing the trees but Oregon State University developed a new variety of hazelnut tree that is resistant to the disease several years ago and most of the farmers are taking out old diseased trees and planting the new trees. I have also noticed big new hazelnut orchards being planted by farmers who used to grow something else. The OPB story said that Oregon's hazelnut crop should be more than adequate to supply US needs.

  • ellabee  on  8/26/2014 at 5:00 PM

    I feel for growers of all kinds in California, whose drought has persisted and expanded to a 500-year event in many locations. The quake could not have come at a worse time of year for the Napa wineries. As someone who experienced the big 1989 quake in SF, though, I'm very glad that the Napa quake has not been lethal, and has caused only a small fraction of the injuries suffered then. The economic damage will no doubt be grave.

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