Moncton — It seems that eating healthier is about to get a little more difficult for New Brunswickers in the coming months. Produce farmers from all over the province are saying they will be unable to keep up with the demand for several varieties of fruits and vegetables, and they are warning people to brace for some major shortages.
Moncton farmer Fred Wilson says this problem has been on the horizon for a long time. “I always said that this was gonna happen,” grumbled Wilson. “You can ask anyone. I’ve always said it.”
Wilson has owned and operated his family farm outside of the hub city for the past 40 years. In that time, he has seen dozens of shifts in the province’s eating habits. In his opinion, the more recent turn toward social consciousness and increased consumer product awareness has drastically altered the way in which many farms operate.
“Twenty years ago, nobody around here even knew what a kumquat was, but now if you don’t have any fresh ones to sell, you’re ‘worse than one of the oil companies.’ People ask me what time of the day I go out to water my crops and when I tell them that I use an irrigator, I sometimes get spit on. I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” bemoaned Wilson.
Wilson anticipates that it will be nearly impossible to purchase a New Brunswick-grown banana or kiwi over the winter months. “They just aren’t going to be there and people will just have to learn to accept that.”
Unfortunately, many families in the province feel that going back to the way things were decades ago would be irresponsible and that they shouldn’t have to make such a sacrifice.
“I like to think I’m doing something good for my family and the community,” said Moncton resident Shelly Waterhouse, standing in front of her idling SUV in the Costco parking lot. “You really have to be a careful what you buy nowadays. I try to make sure that all of my fruit and vegetables are local, organic, gluten free, no BPA and free range. I just heard that there is something called ‘ebola’ that I’m going to have to watch for as well.”
When asked how she will adjust her buying habits given the decreased availability of some products, Waterhouse said she was uncertain as to how she will react.
“I don’t know. My son Dykhota likes to have pineapple after he finishes his pizza pockets in the afternoon. In our house, we like to think that we owe it to ourselves to make sure we stick to our values and maintain our high standards. Lots of other places have local produce. Why can’t we get them to send us some? I know if I knew somewhere else in the world didn’t have local produce and we did, I wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t at least send them some.”
It is unclear how long these shortages will last, but the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick has assured the public that its stores of boring and uninteresting foods such as apples and potatoes should be enough to last until the next growing season.