Wild fires continue in Northern California, limited impact on fresh produce industry

The Northern California skies continue to be full of dust and ash during what is said to be the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. On Wednesday, the number of people confirmed dead in the counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Yuba had increased to 23. At least 3,500 structures have been destroyed in more than 160,000 acres of fires, according to the LA Times. 

Napa and Sonoma counties
Napa and Sonoma county are world renowned wine areas and many wine grape growers have been affected and wineries have been destroyed. According to the 2016 Napa County Agricultural crop report, the county grows more than 43,000 acres of wine grapes while the acreage of ‘other fruits and nuts’ is too small to be listed. A California grape grower was not aware of any other crops potentially affected other than wine grapes. Sonoma’s agricultural industry also used to thrive on wine grapes, but both counties grow some squash, tomatoes and melons as well. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Joey Smith of Let’s Go Farm, which grows about 50 different organic vegetable crops on the northeastern side of Santa Rosa, had to evacuate his farm. He mentioned having watermelons, tomatoes, carrots, beets, kale, chard, celery and strawberries.

A representative of Sonoma Kitchen Collective, owner of the ‘U Gottabee Nutz’ brand, was unable to speak to the situation. He did mention that the office in Sonoma was closed due to the fires and no one would be available to speak until Monday at the earliest.

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