PRYOR, OK —
AccuWeather reports a period of chilly temperatures in Chile, some of the coldest for the middle of September in over 80 years, is the culprit for some rising prices of fruits for the winter.
Normally, during the winter, most of the fruits coming into the United States and for some locations across the world are coming from South America. Chile is one of the large producers of fruit in the winter and early spring for the world. The problem is in the middle of September, after the trees started producing buds, temperatures turned quite chilly.
Normally, highs in September are in the 60s F and lows are in the lower to middle 40s F for much of the growing area around Chile. This September, a cold blast came in around the middle of the month and brought lows into the 20s, killing most plants and trees that were just starting to produce buds for the fruit to grow. Some of the growing areas even saw temperatures drop into the teens for several hours, causing major damage and making this quite costly.
Chile exported 282 million boxes of fruit last year. Estimates from the Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association say that anywhere from 50 million to as high as 65 million boxes of fruit were damaged. Also, grapes are a large crop for Chile, and 20 percent of the grape harvest was damaged by this cold weather.
Some of the worst damage was to almonds and kiwis, with damage estimates of 57 percent of almonds and 48 percent of kiwis destroyed. The last time a frost occurred this late and was this widespread was in 1929.
This will also bring an increase in prices for fruits for the United States and the globe. With the volume of some of these fruits being cut in half, prices over the winter could rise significantly with this weather Chile had.