The Drastic Effects California's Heat Wave Is Having On Food

The latest heat wave in California has set records in both temperature and length, according to NPR. Inflation is already high, and hotter temperatures could make food inflation even worse since weather will impact farms and the food supply. For California, this is especially worrisome since so much food is grown in the state.

The Takeout cites the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which says that more than one-third of vegetables in the United States are grown in California, and three-quarters of the country's nuts and fruits are produced in the state, too. Civil Eats reports that shorter winters could also become an issue because some crops, like pistachios, need cooler weather. With longer hot spells, these crops wouldn't be able to grow in the San Joaquin Valley anymore.

Drought and heat will have an effect on the plants themselves, but another important thing to consider is how the extreme temperatures will hurt farm workers. Farm workers in California are required to have water and shade when the temperatures go above 80 degrees, but when there's issues with staffing, protocols aren't always strictly followed (via Civil Eats). Farm workers die at higher rates because of heat, and when they aren't able to work because of extreme temperatures or sandstorms, certain crops might not be picked.

Restaurants in California are also closing because of the heat wave

Wondering how the heat wave is affecting the food industry and workers in California? Over the past few days, restaurants have closed down temporarily or changed operations because of the extreme weather. According to Robb Report, some restaurants have closed outside seating areas and canceled events to keep patrons and workers safe. For example, Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma canceled an outdoor music event while keeping the restaurant running indoors.

In Livermore, temperatures reached 116 degrees, as reported by SFGate, and this led to power outages that also forced restaurants to shut down. Food trucks have also stopped operating during the heat wave. Uzziel "Oz" Rojas, owner of Concord food truck Los Originales, told SFGate that food trucks are anywhere from 10 to 15 degrees hotter inside, so it was necessary to close down for staff safety.

If you're thinking about eating out in this kind of weather, opting for indoor dining is a better option. Be sure to stay safe during a heat wave by staying hydrated and staying out of the sun. Plus, make sure to avoid these foods during a heat wave.