Rick Eastes, Director of Special Projects for Ballantine Produce Company, was kind enough to pass on these photos of snow in Chile sent to him from a friend in Santiago.
Jim Pandol of Pandol Assoc. Marketing and Pandol Family Farms sent this note suggesting that despite the crop reduction on avocados, which we wrote about here, there may be a silver lining to the snow. In fact Chile could use some additional precipitation:
Snow is not uncommon in the foothills around Santiago. Neighborhoods at higher elevations do see snow. However, down in the city it is rare.
This cold has affected the avocados the most. Avocados in the northern areas were not heavily affected because temperatures were higher. The most affected areas were in the central part of Chile. Other fruits, such and grapes, stonefruit, apples, and pears, were not affected since they were still in dormancy. The winter has been relatively cold giving those crops good dormancy chilling hours.
Any kind of precipitation has been welcome in Chile since there have been concerns about water. However, those concerns and needs are greatest in the North. The Copiapo Valley is facing a very serious water shortage. It is expected that this water shortage could affect this year’s crop in terms of quality and volume. Water is crucial to grape sizing. If a grower cannot get enough water, he might be able to produce a crop, but berry size could be smaller and therefore volume would be less.
— Jim Pandol
Pandol Assoc. Marketing
Pandol Family Farms
We’ve found one of the hardest things to get a consumer to understand is that many times the size of the crop grows or shrinks, not based on the number of items produced but on the size of each fruit.
It is too bad the avocados were hurt. Let us hope the rest of the Chilean industry gets the water they need.