Wet weather dampens green produce output

If you're missing your greens, you may have to be patient - growers say it could be weeks before shelves are fully stocked.

It follows the wettest March-April period on record for Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Whakatane.

Vegetable producers are still feeling the impact after two months of record rainfall saturated land and crippled crop supplies.

"I've not experienced it in my 40 years of farming," Allan Fong, from The Fresh Grower, told Newshub.

"[We were] averaging over 100ml of rain per week, so that was just too much for our crops. It's meant that a lot of the crops have drowned."

Green vegetables were worst hit. Salads are scarce, spinach is off the shelf, while a head of broccoli will cost you an arm and a leg.

Mr Fong lost around 25 hectares of crops, which will cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

New crops are on the way, but it's still going to take several weeks to return to normal supplies. 

Supermarkets have been severely affected by the shortage.

"Beans, broccoli, salads, silverbeet, lettuce and spinach are all in particularly short supply, which means customers will notice the retail price of these vegetables is higher than usual," Foodstuffs told Newshub.

Countdown recommended leeks, cabbage and carrots as alternatives, saying: "We're doing what we can to ensure we have supply wherever possible."

And it's impacting restaurants too. In a Restaurant Association snapshot poll, 90 percent report difficulties sourcing vegetables and a spike in prices, forcing some to adapt menus.

"Last week we spent $672 on 168 broccoli," one restaurant said, comparing it to a normal week at $150 to $240.

Another said it's been incredibly frustrating, forcing them to alter a number of dishes.

But recovery is in sight.

"If we don't get too much rain and not too many frosts then probably for our crops, like spinach for instance, in the next two or three weeks we hope the volumes will start increasing," Mr Fong said.

"Within the next three to four weeks I can see some relaxing of the supply coming through."

In the meantime, you may just have to swap your salads for soups and stews.

Newshub.

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