WACO, Texas – Even nearly two weeks after the snow and ice have melted in Central Texas, grocery stores are still experiencing empty shelves – especially in the produce section.
Jonathan Grant is the executive director of World Hunger Relief, Inc., and their Waco farm was hit hard by the winter weather – losing half of their crops and compromising their irrigation system – leading to a four-day water loss.
“Weather happens. And you, as a farmer, know that more than anyone else,” Grant said. “You can prepare a lot, but there are some things like -6 degree weather that you just pray you can endure.”
Most people outside the farming community are seeing the storm’s effects in the grocery store aisles.
“There just is a limit on the access to the thing that you need,” Grant said. “When something like [a winter storm] happens, and we have to know that we’re not gonna be able to get eggs tomorrow, the milk is gonna be in short supply.”
If the storm was to come at any time, mid-February actually turned out to be a fortunate setting for farmers. If it had come a week earlier or a week later, it could’ve knocked out all their crops instead of a fraction.
“It’s gonna take time for farmers whose fields were devastated to grow those fields back,” Grant said. “It did happen at a time where winter gardens were gonna be turning to spring gardens.”
With produce slowly coming back to shelves, customers, like farmers do, will have to practice patience.
“You can’t produce a tomato in a day,” Grant said. “You gotta germinate the seed, you gotta grow the plant, you gotta pray that the weather and the bugs don’t take it down and then you pray that it’s a fruitful season. And so, it’s gonna take time.”