CAN (QC): Heat wave hits fast forward on outdoor crops

The late start to the Montreal, Quebec produce season might have saved the region from product damage with the 10+ day heat wave being felt in the area.

The heat wave has made headlines thanks to the repeat days of hitting 100+ Fahrenheit temperatures and being the cause of more than 70 deaths in the province. Those temperatures have had some effects on the movement of produce, including pushing up the sales of heat-related produce such as watermelon and stone fruit.

Speeding things up
As for local production, the heat wave has given it a bit of a boost to a season that was already undergoing timing issues. “There was a late start to the season,” says George Pitsikoulis with Canadawide Fruit Wholesalers Inc. in Montreal. “Winter was longer so they didn’t get out to the fields on time. The heat may have normalized all of what they would usually be doing at this time. It brought it up to where it typically is for the time of year we’re at.”

For example, romaine lettuce isn’t as big and heavy as growers are used to seeing at this time in July. “It’s maybe a bit smaller and it’s maturing quicker out in the field,” says Pitsikoulis. “It’s showing a little bit of tip burn which comes with the heat.”

In terms of specific crops, raspberries are quite affected so far and celery is also moving faster than usual. Broccoli is also feeling the effects with some yellow spots being seen on product.

Wait and see
There are future concerns though. “If they don’t get any rain in the next week or so then it’s going to start creating some issues. They do need some extra water somewhere along the way,” says Pitsikoulis.

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