HLB Specialties, which imports rambutan from Guatemala, received this photo from one of their growers that shows the aftermath of the eruption of the Fuego volcano. ( HLB Specialties )

Some fruit and vegetable production and movement could be affected by the recent deadly eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala.

The volcano erupted June 3, killing at least 65 people and injuring many others, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based HLB Specialties, which sources rambutan from Guatemala, said air shipments of its fruit have been delayed.

“The airport in Guatemala City is closed at the moment and we are waiting to hear whether it will reopen later today or tomorrow,” director of communications Melissa Hartmann de Barros said June 4. “The rambutan growing areas are not directly hit, but ash has reportedly reached the airport, which has caused officials to close it.”

Katiana Valdes, director of marketing for Miami-based Crystal Valley Foods, said some of the farms from which the company sources are close to the volcano.

"We are working closely with those farms to determine the severity of the damage," Valdes said June 4. "We do source from other regions in the country, and we are working with the farms in those areas as well to ensure that we can continue providing our customers with the volumes and quality they expect.

"Weather forecasts also show heavy rain in the region over the next several days, which will cause more devastating mudflow, ash, and debris to be swept down the volcano," Valdes said.

Crystal Valley Food sources French beans, baby squash, baby carrots, blackberries, sugar snap peas, snow peas and baby heirloom tomatoes from Guatemala.

Priscilla Lleras-Bush, the coordinator of the Guatemalan Produce Trade Association, said the focus right now is on the people affected by the eruption. She expected more details on the effect on produce to be available later.

Lana Chehabeddine, marketing coordinator for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Southern Specialties, said farmers in the country are still trying to assess the damage. Early expectations are that some beans, peas and radicchio could be damaged because ash seems to have covered everything, but more complete information should be available later in the week, Chehabeddine said June 4.

Dan Wahl, president and CEO of Miami-based Growers Are Us, said evaluations are happening now to understand how the eruption may affect crops or shipments.

Delilah Thomas, accounts payable for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Ben-Bud Growers, said she had not heard any reports yet of the eruption disrupting business for the company.

 
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