As the days go by, the sharp rise in the price of vegetables in Spain, a consequence of the cold and bad weather in the main growing areas, has leveled off somewhat, although zucchini, eggplant, spinach and chard remain quite expensive due to the shortages caused by the frost. This has been reported by several people within the sector.
Some wholesalers and greengrocers from the province of Ciudad Real can only confirm this. Melani Fernández, of the fruit store Los Cuatro Hermanos in Valdepeñas, confirms the general price increase for seasonal vegetables, especially for zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower or tomatoes. The increases range between 30% and more than 100%. For example, the price of zucchini in the store rose from € 1.50 to € 3.20. Eggplant even reached € 6.
An employee of the Frutas Márquez fresh food store in Alcázar de San Juan saw the price of artichokes, chard or spinach rise the most in the days when storm Filomena crossed the country, although she says the price of almost all fresh products has increased.
The company, which also distributes fruit and vegetables as a wholesaler across several points of sale and (now closed) catering outlets in the cities of Ciudad Real, Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete, reports that prices remain at an unusually high level.
For his part, Antonio Mejías, of wholesaler Frutas Mejías, believes that the increase has been temporary and that prices are now back to a balanced level. "It actually happens every year and it's also logical that when it is very cold, prices will increase by 30 to 40%. But after a few days, they have fallen again."
Slowdown of the production
Andrés Góngora, head for Fruits and Vegetables at the growers' organization COAG, says that although Filomena didn't hit provinces like Almería as hard, there was still severe frost that took a toll on many greenhouse crops. “The production process has ground to a halt and there is a shortage of products of which there is usually an abundant supply in winter, namely eggplant, zucchini and artichoke. The price of bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli has also risen to a lesser extent.”
However, he is confident that the plants will wake up again in the coming days and gradually get back to their normal production rate.