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Weather bomb slows produce movement, rush expected tomorrow

Warnings issued by weather and news media sources of a major blizzard that was headed toward the Northeast had retailers scurrying to fill their produce shelves and street carts in anticipation of consumers stocking up to hunker down inside and ride it out — with full pantries.

Named Stella, and originally referred to as a "life-threatening" nor'easter Bombogenesis (weather bomb), snow flurries began to fall Monday night and lasted throughout much of Tuesday morning.baldor-stormBaldor New York limits deliveries to hospitals and nursing homes on Tuesday, March 14, due to Stella.

By 11 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was downgraded in New York City to about eight inches of snow. But north and west, as well as the New York-Pennsylvania border, up to 30 inches were still expected.

In preparation for the storm, New York City closed schools and above-ground subway lines on Tuesday.

The produce business also felt a slowdown. On Monday, Baldor New York reported it would only make deliveries to hospitals and nursing homes on Tuesday due to the winter storm.

Regular deliveries will resume on Wednesday, but the storm are expected to limit its ability to accommodate late orders.

Baldor DC expected to be fully operational, and Baldor Boston made early-morning deliveries into downtown Boston only.

At the Philadelphia Regional Market companies were reporting a general slowdown of market traffic and delivery alterations.boxBodegas stocking up on Monday morning in anticipation of a busy day with consumers stocking up before storm Stella.

On Tuesday morning, Procacci Bros. in Philadelphia was open and all of its warehouses were operating. A spokesperson for the company said, “Our market operations will be closing at 11 a.m. and reopening at 5 p.m. this evening. Orders were extremely heavy the last three days due to the storm. We had limited shipping last night, but will resume normal shipping operations this afternoon.”

Tommy Kovacevich, general manager of Kovacevich-Philadelphia Inc., said conditions at the market were wet and slushy on Tuesday morning.

“The conditions of the market's service areas south and east of the market are similar,” said Kovacevich. “TMK is open with a skeleton crew. Very few customers are coming to the market today and most stores on the market are closed. TMK has made a few deliveries today but there is not much going on. TMK will remain open all day and this evening.”

John Vena, president of John Vena Inc., also located on the PRM, said the company was working on Tuesday, but noted that very few customers had come to the market.

“We made a few early deliveries, but later deliveries have been postponed,” said Vena. “Our packing room is working with a skeleton crew in an effort to have product packed in order to ship first thing Wednesday. Most businesses here on the market are closed today.”

Produce companies along the Northeast corridor were gearing up for a rush of business to resume on Wednesday morning to get retailers and foodservice operators serviced in the most efficient manner possible.