In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard, California is currently suffering from the longest period of extreme drought the state has seen since 1897. This three-year drought is devastating to agrarian communities that have been left with barren farmland. However, the effects of California’s drought don’t stop at the state line.
California is the leading producer of vegetables, fruits and nuts among the agrarian states of the US. That means that the crippling drought will extend from the Central Valley straight to your summer dinner table.
1. Limited Leafy Greens
California produces 70% of lettuce in the United States. From April to May 2015, the price of lettuce and other leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, kale and arugula has jumped 1.9% nationwide. The LA times predicts as much as a 34% increase in the price of lettuce by the end of the drought.
2. Goodbye Guac
Bad news if you like guacamole. Southern California is responsible for the production of 95% of the avocados grown in the US. According to the LA Times, the price of avocados is predicted to rise by 28% in the coming months.
3. The Almond Debate
Almonds, the third-leading agricultural product in California, must be watered year round in order to survive. There is an ongoing debate in California as to whether it’s ethical to grow these water-guzzling trees during the drought, and some farmers are uprooting their almond orchards. All of the almonds sold and consumed in the United States are grown in California. Prices are predicted to rise drastically.
4. Wine Worries
Around seven million grapes were grown in the US last year. Of these, 90% were grown in California. Prices are expected to increase by 21% according to the LA Times. On the bright side, the wine grapes turned out great this year despite the drought, so you’ll still be able to enjoy a tasty glass with dinner as you cry about your lack of guacamole.
5. Bye Bye Broccoli
You may not have liked it when you were a kid, but it might be a favorite now. California produces 90% of broccoli grown in the United States. The LA Times predicts a price rise of up to 22% due to the drought. Children all over the world will celebrate until mothers all over the world will buy eggplant instead. (Yuck. Eggplant.)
6. Much Less Melon
California is one of the five states that grows watermelon for commercial consumption in the US. The LA Times says that you can expect up to an 18% increase in the price of this summertime staple.
7. Effects of Hay Shortages
Hay, which is grown for use as feed on California cattle farms, is more difficult to come by now that the drought has largely prevented its growth in the state of California. Beef prices are expected to rise by 4% this summer, making your summer cookout a little pricy.
Other major food crops grown in California include (but are not limited to) tomatoes, berries, peppers, oranges, apples, lemons and rice.