LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The harsh winter weather that caused havoc in the southern part of the country is also impacting fruit and vegetable supplies here in Massachusetts.

“Weather always affects fresh produce, fresh fruits, and vegetables, it depends on what part of the country is affected, and it may not show an immediate effect,” Randall’s Farm Owner Karen Randall said.

Randall’s Farm in Ludlow like many independent grocery stores and local growers has experienced shortages of certain produce due to the severe winter temperatures down south.

“Strawberries because it was very cold in Florida, which really slows down their crop, and it was also really cold in California and Mexico. For a while, we couldn’t get small cucumbers and those sort of things for 10 days or so,” Randall explained.

Randall has been in the grocery business for more than 20 years and said extreme weather conditions always take a toll.

“It’s not our growing season so, we are getting fruits and vegetables from all over the country, and the weather impacts it a lot either by a freeze somewhere, and that slows down the crop,” Randall said. “If transportation is a problem because no power or ice, like Texas right now, suffering from all kinds of weather ailments, so even if they can get a crop harvested, they can’t pack it and ship it.”

Shortages translate to higher prices.

“Produce that comes from all over the country, we have seen major fluctuation, like one week we could sell cauliflower for $4, and the next week we could sell it for $2. There are a lot of variations and that’s all based on weather and the supply that gets to this coast,” Randall said.

Massachusetts farming season typically starts in March and April, but the unknown of how the rest of the winter will turn out is what local farmers like Randall are waiting for.

“I think we’re very fortunate that we have a great food supply in this country, and sometimes we take it for granted and expect it to be there all the time, and then situations like between the pandemic and extreme weather we’ve had, it makes us realize that everything isn’t available all the time, and we should appreciate it,” Randall said.

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