Running low: Carl Van Engelen, owner of Bonanza Fruit and Vegetables in Ballina, says the floods in Queensland have impacted on the price of produce and the range of fruit and vegetables available.
RICE may become a staple carbohydrate on the plates of Northern Rivers locals over the next few days due to a lack of potatoes.
It’s not only potatoes, but tomatoes, apples, mangoes and a wide variety of other fresh fruit and vegetables are becoming scarce on the shelves of supermarkets and small fruit and vegetable shops, thanks to the Queensland floods.
Fruit shop owner Carl Van Engelen, who has been in the business for 25 years and owns Bonanza Fruit and Vegetables in Ballina and another shop in Casino, said it had been an enormous task for him to get everything together.
“I have had to go to six different wholesalers to get all my produce,” he said.
“Normally I only have to go to one.”
Mr Van Engelen said the produce has to come from Sydney as the Brisbane markets were all flooded.
“Yesterday in Casino I had many customers asking me: ‘How come you are the only one in Casino with potatoes?’,” he said.
“We had them in stock, so we were lucky.”
Stock currently running low includes potatoes, tomatoes and various fruits.
“Apples are hard to get and there are no mangoes,’ Mr Van Engelen said. “There are a few pineapples about, but not many and we are running out.”
Mr Van Engelen didn’t see supply going back to normal for a while.
“As the cool rooms in Brisbane have all been under water, they will need to be checked before they can run again,” he said.
“I expect it will take another five days before everything is back to normal.”
Prices for items that have become scarce have also increased, with potatoes almost doubling from a few days ago.
“We were selling potatoes at $2-$2.59 per kilo,” Mr Van Engelen said.
“Now we are selling them at $4 per kilo.”
Produce still available at Bonanza Fruit and Vegetables in Ballina includes shallots, strawberries, mushrooms, broccoli, grapes, chillies, avocadoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes and kiwi fruit.
“I also have fancy lettuce,” Mr Van Engelen said.
“But I can’t get iceberg.”
source: Lismore Northern Star
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