Venues face spinach & rocket shortages over Christmas

During one of the busiest times of the year, Australian venues are facing spinach, rocket and mesclun shortages. We speak to some of our suppliers to find out what venues need to do.

For venues, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the supplies that they need - and when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s never a 100% guarantee. Right now, quality spinach, rocket and mesclun have been affected by bad weather in Victoria and Queensland.

We chatted to two of our suppliers and found out what venues need to know.

What lines are impacted?

Baby spinach, rocket, mesclun and salad mixes including all or one of these.

Why has this happened?

Weather patterns are increasingly shifting across the world and Australia has seen extreme temperatures in the past couple of weeks that have had a flow-on effect on produce.

“Victoria received 180mm of rain which flooded the crops and the humidity after the rain is making the air too moist for those crops to develop normally,” says James Scarano from Sydney based fruit & veg supplier, Fruitlicious.

The wild weather continued in South/Eastern Queensland, with the small town of Gatton being particularly affected. Luke Kohler from Sydney Direct Fresh Produce describes the storms three weeks ago as a “severe hailstorm that wreaked havoc on baby spinach, mesclun, and wild rocket crops.”


An example of the hail that hit South/Eastern Queensland

What’s the impact of this weather?

In farming and cropping environments there are a lot of variables - but even so, the weather in recent years has hugely disrupted supply chains and damaged produce - leading to delays and unforeseen expenses for venues.

“This current unfortunate event has waterlogged crops, particularly impacting baby spinach and wild rocket,” says Luke.

Additionally, Luke says the warm weather following the rain has accelerated spoilage, reducing product quality and shelf life.

While this hasn’t reduced the quantity of spinach, rocket and mesclun, it has reduced the quality. “The produce isn’t rotten, but it does look bruised and wilted. We have supply but the quality and shelf life is not there,” says James.

How long will it take to get a normal supply of spinach, rocket & mesclun?

With any weather event, it takes a while for things to correct. This time around, James predicts it will take 3 to 4 weeks for supply to return to normal levels.  

“This is because it will take time for Victoria to recover and QLD is about to be hit by a cyclone so that growing region is going to be wiped out too.”

What should venues do?

If venues have menu items that contain spinach, rocket, mesclun or salad mix, they might need to remove these items from their menus.

The other alternative is to talk to their suppliers to find substitutions in the short term. Call to action - CTAs (18)