Double-edged sword for Salina Valley

RECORD rains are a double-edged sword for California’s Salinas Valley: While the recent deluge virtually ended the state’s historic drought, it also created muddy, unworkable fields — sending prices for everything from kale to cauliflower soaring.

The famed agricultural region just south of Silicon Valley is usually a springtime sea of green vegetables. But this year, there are patches of brown unplanted dirt in “America’s salad bowl,” which supplies more than 60 per cent of the country’s leaf lettuce and almost half of its broccoli.

“Most fields under normal conditions would be planted at this point,” Jerrett Stoffel, vice president of operations at Taylor Farms, said in an interview at the privately held company’s sprawling outpost in Salinas, California.

Taylor Farms is a major provider of produce to customers such as grocer Kroger Co and burrito seller Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

“No matter whether you live here or you live in Boston, you’re going to see the impact” on supply and prices, Mr Stoffel said.

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