AUSTIN, Texas — Due to the earthquake in Chile, Whole Foods Market  is anticipating a significant shortage of Chilean grapes through April and possibly into May.
While Whole Foods vendor partners were not affected in the earthquake, the region’s infrastructure was. This will have an impact on all fresh produce supplies, especially table grapes, according to Karen Christensen, a Whole Foods produce buyer.
Whole Foods has received reports that many cold storage facilities and packing plants have been destroyed. Thousands of pallets of fruit that were packed and ready for shipment have been lost, Christensen writes in a recent blog posted on wholefoodsmarket.com.
“Chile’s Sixth Region, where grape production is peaking, is reported to be a disaster, without electricity since the earthquake struck,” according to Christensen. “The capacity to cool and hold new fruit is extremely limited.”
On the farms, staffers are gradually returning to work, depending on whether basic services such as power and water have been restored.
“Many vineyards are reported to have been affected by the movement of the earth, some vines have collapsed and it’s still unknown how root systems may have been affected,” she said.
Since the fall apple harvest is just getting under way, it’s early to know what that impact will be.
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