The unusually heavy and prolonged snowfall to hit Europe this week has caused transport chaos in southern France, leaving thousands of Spanish trucks carrying produce from Andalusia, Murcia and Valencia stranded on the road between Narbonne and Nîmes.
Just 30km away in Saint-Just, home of French cooperative Cofruid’Oc, CEO Didier Crabos reported that “the winter sports season has just closed”, the sun at last starting to melt the snow after up to 30cm of snowfall on Wednesday.
“There was a lot of traffic chaos that forced us to stop packing at 11.30am on Wednesday,” said Crabos. “On Thursday, three-quarters of the workforce was absent because of the state of the roads and our trucks have been stuck to the spot. We only really started again today [Friday]. Today everything is in order, and we will work tomorrow morning to make up the orders.”
Regarding any damage to the produce itself, Crabos said that its apples, the company’s main item, were unaffected: “February snow is as good as manure, as the saying goes.”
However, some other products had fared less well, he revealed. “Some glasshouses for salads and strawberries have collapsed,” he told Eurofruit. “In stonefruit, especially apricots, early varieties that were already in bloom have suffered severely from temperatures as low as -7oC, both in France and elsewhere.”