Everything Is Terrible: There Is A Whipped Cream Shortage


By Cooking Panda

It’s holiday baking season, so canned whipped cream was already in high demand, even before the tragic explosion at a Florida nitrous oxide plant, which put a stopper on production.

The Chicago Tribune reports that canned whipped cream varieties, such as Reddi-Wip are now in short supply. The Reddi-Wip manufacturer, ConAgra Brands, verified that the shortage is due to not having enough nitrous oxide to get cans to spray like we love for them to do.

If you want to make sure to get your hands on a can of whipped cream before it sells out, Reddi-Wip urges you to hurry and grab it while it’s early. Otherwise you’ll be out of luck because of the holiday season. Try not to be too fearful, however. According to Eater, ConAgra is working to find a solution to this nitrous oxide problem. There’s got to be something else they can use, right?

In case you aren’t familiar, nitrous oxide is better known as laughing gas, and what’s currently left of it is being saved for medical purposes, such as dental procedures. Call me crazy, but I’d rather have it when I’m getting root canals than have it fueling the whipped cream dispenser into my hot cocoa. You can just buy the kind that comes in a tub, right? Or make your own! That could taste better anyway.

A popular New England grocery store, called Market Basket, has announced that there will be a minimal supply of canned whipped cream due to the nitrous oxide shortage, and that it will last for more than a week while we look to Europe to find more of that oh-so-fun gas. If the shortage truly only lasts a week or two, I think we’ll survive it. Sure, it’s a terrible ordeal for those of us who were really looking forward to spraying it on all of our holiday desserts, but at least it’s not forever!

Just take a deep breath and deal with the tub for now. We’ll all need the comfort of our hot chocolate and holiday pies regardless of the Reddi-Wip shortage.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Eater / Photo Credit: Reddi-Wip/Instagram

Tags: desserts, holidays, Reddi-Wip, shortage, Whipped Cream
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Bad News, Coconut Lovers: The Caribbean Is Running Out Of Your Favorite Fruit


By Cooking Panda

We all know the old saying: If you love something, let it go. And in this case, we’re looking at you, coconut-enthusiasts, because all your Vita Coco chugging and coconut-oil cooking habits have depleted the Caribbean of its coconut supply.

Per Bloomberg, the region’s experts actually flat out warned Americans that because of storms, droughts and more, entire farms have been wiped out. Because growers have not invested in new trees or fertilizers to counteract these losses, Caribbean plantations have shrunk about 17 percent since 1994, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

“It’s fair to say that at this pace, the Caribbean is running out of coconuts,” Compton Paul, coordinator of a regional coconut initiative at the Trinidad-based Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, told Bloomberg.

In addition to the above hurtles (and menacing threats like Lethal Yellowing disease), the demand for coconuts is also astronomically high; Starbucks can’t even keep it in stock as a milk alternative, and with the artist Rihanna touting coconut water as her sports drink of choice, it truly is the new “It” fruit. The problem is that coconuts aren’t being farmed correctly anymore, even though the industry is slated to surpass $4 billion by 2019, according to Grub Street.

Dioni Siri, who owns his own trees and also buys from farmers in Nagua on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, suggests that coconuts are getting picked too early, and aren’t up to scratch.

“It’s not good enough,” Siri told Bloomberg. “Our biggest problem is that the farmers aren’t growing enough quality coconuts.”

Adds Vilma Da Silva, a farmer who started focusing on coconuts-for-water exports after the industry became lucrative: “We want to get into more international markets and export more but there aren’t enough farms to buy from.”

Melvin Bautista, who owns Coco Express del Caribe, one of the leading domestic coconut-water brands in the Dominican Republic says, however, there is only one solution to the problem.

“Start planting more coconuts,” he tells Bloomberg.

Fans of the fruit stateside, you better hope his advice is heeded — and soon!

Sources: Bloomberg, Grub Street / Photo credit: Coconut Board

Tags: caribbean, coconuts, food trend, shortage
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You Better Stock Up On Champagne Because A Shortage Is Coming


By Cooking Panda

A Champagne shortage of historic proportions is coming.

After several months of bad weather, mildew, and rot, the world’s supply of Champagne will be dramatically impacted for the rest of the year. According to Decanter, 2016 was one of the lowest yielding Champagne seasons since the 1980s, and the most difficult season since 1956.

During the spring, late frosts affected the Cote des Bar region, which impacted a quarter of the world’s Champagne vineyards. Jean Pierre Fleury, a winemaker in Courteron, revealed that the frost resulted in a 70 percent loss of his possible harvest.

Furthermore, the Aube was later affected by hailstorms. Eventually, a mildew epidemic greatly altered the potential crop.

Olivier Horiot, grower and wine cultivator at Les Riceys, stated that the sub-region’s yield would probably be around 2,500 to 3,000 kg/hectare, a mere fraction of the 10,700 kg/hectare that was predicted in July.

Charles Philipponnat, General Manager at Champagne Philipponnat, said winemakers will need to “dig heavily” in their reserves in order to satisfy the 2016 yields.

In addition to poor weather, mildew and rot have significantly impacted this year’s crop. Although gray rot was not observed until the end of July, it quickly spread to 65 percent of the champagne vineyards.

Furthermore, 99 percent of vineyards observed had symptoms of mildew, and 34 percent had a 10 percent or higher loss in yield due to mildew. Additionally, in 4 percent of the vineyards more than 50 percent of crops were affected, according to Magister, an agronomic agency.

Champagne is not the only liquor that is experiencing an international shortage. According to CNN Money, the demand for fine Scotch has hit record highs, leading to a shortage that may last well over a decade.

“The shortage of old and rare single malt … has already started, and it’s going to get worse,” said Rickesh Kishnani, founder of world’s first whisky investment fund.

Although distillers are trying to increase production, Scotch takes several years to produce. By law, all Scotch whisky is required to be aged for at least three years.

“We are currently working at full capacity — seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” explained Charlie Whitfield, brand manager for Macallan. “We just need to be patient and allow those casks to work their magic.”

Sources: Decanter, CNN Money / Photo credit: Bloomberg

Tags: bad weather, Champagne, liquor, mildew, rot, scotch, shortage
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Bad News, Pumpkin Lovers, Breweries Are Running Low On Pumpkin


By Cooking Panda

It looks like pumpkin beers may be in short supply.

The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2015 has had some lingering effects on this year’s supply. Brewers are discovering that many suppliers are out of pumpkins, which will affect various fall beer offerings, according to Draft magazine.

Nebraska Brewing Company produces Wick For Brains pumpkin beer every year, its most popular seasonal product. However, the brewer’s regular pumpkin supplier was unable to provide the 5,000 pounds of pumpkin puree the beer requires.

“We did end up finding a supplier, but not until after a few years were dropped from my lifespan trying to figure things out,” Nebraska Brewing Companys’ president and co-founder Paul Kavulak told Draft Magazine. “We bought enough for maybe the first two batches and then went back to buy more — being good disciples of Just in Time Inventory — and were told they were out. We had to brew [Wick For Brains] five times this year, so you can see the panic that set in. My guess is that this is going to be an issue across the board.”

Although the shortage is unlikely to affect all breweries nationwide, the Brewers Association’s forum lists posts from brewers searching for other options and alternate suppliers.

Brian Nelson, head brewer at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, said he attempted to place an order with the company’s normal supplier, only to discover they were completely out of pumpkin. Local Virginia farmers, which typically supply about half of the pumpkin needed by the brewery, had also suffered a bad crop this year. Ultimately, Nelson found a supplier in Florida, but not after attempting to contact over half a dozen companies.

“I was able to patch it together this year and I referred this supplier to a couple other Virginia breweries that I’m friends with,” Nelson explained. “We’ll be fine this year, but I know there are other small breweries scrambling. And I hear it’s not only in the brewing industry but in the culinary industry as well.”

Source: Draft Magazine / Photo credit: Liquid Bread Magazine

Tags: Beer, liquor, pumpkin, pumpkin beer, pumpkin shortage, shortage
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The Northeast Is Facing A Major Peach Shortage This Summer


By Cooking Panda

Bad news, fellow stone fruit fans: Due to an unusual warm spell in mid-winter followed by two brutal cold snaps, an assortment of crops in the Northeast (from roughly central New Jersey up through New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have been utterly decimated.

According to NOAA, this past February was the Northeast’s most unusually warm month in recorded history.

“Things like peaches, apricots, they start to come out pretty quick as soon as it gets warm out,” Steven Clarke of Prospect Hill Orchards, in Milton, New York, told Modern Farmer.

The unexpectedly warm weather actually tricked the stone fruit trees in the Northeast to believe the arrival of spring was upon them, and to begin the budding process which would eventually yield flowers and ultimately fruit.

However, when the warm spell was followed by two deep freezes (one in mid-February and one in early April), nearly all of the stone fruit buds were destroyed. Even the farmer’s best techniques to deal with aggressive cold spells were insufficient to save the crops.

“There was absolutely nothing you could do about it,” says Clarke.

Kay Rentzel of the National Peach Council told Delish: “There are some regions that are still blooming right now. In California and Georgia, they’re already starting to harvest. The mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, we don’t have a full handle on because of the earliness of the season.”

Growers in the Northeast will therefore be forced to purchase stone fruits from faraway regions, like California and Georgia, with actual growing crops — which means that Northeastern fruit-lovers can expect items like peaches, cherries, apricots, nectarines and plums to come with a higher price tag this summer.

Here’s the silver lining, though: if you regularly purchase your peaches from supermarkets, then the shortage won’t have as much of an impact on you. Fruit tree specialist Win Cowgill told Delish that New England peach growers do not actually factor much into grocery stores’ supply.

Those who purchase the majority of their stone fruits from local fruit stands or farmers markets, however, should begin saving up now if they plan on enjoying the fruits this summer.

Sources: Weather.com, Modern FarmerDelish / Photo credit: Rossi Writes

Tags: northeast, peaches, shortage
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