The missing potato problem

At the local supermarket yesterday there were empty shelves where potatoes should be, nada, none, nothing. A sign close by told us:

“Sorry for any inconvenience, we are experiencing a temporary lack of certain food items.”


Oh dear, haven´t seen anything like this since March 2020, when everyone was panic buying before lockdown. I took photos of empty aisles, it was such a phenomenon to us, there were more people taking photos than those walking round with empty trollies. But back then there was a reason.

So the “potato famine” version is a bit weird and not wonderful. Spain is now in a third wave of Covid with a recent surge up to roughly 40,000 new cases per day. As yet shelves are full and there´s no panic buying, proven by the fully stocked loo roll / kitchen roll / tissues section. So what could be the reason? Just speculating amidst reality here:

  • Storm Filomena hit Spain hard last week, bringing heavy snow almost everywhere. The Army was out clearing roads because the corona vaccine was on it´s way in lorries that couldn´t get to their destination. So maybe some transport of other goods was interrupted.
  • Many crops inland have been decimated because of the snow (and ice). Spain provides 93% of fresh fruit and vegetables for all European countries, and is the leading exporter in the world.

This country isn´t built for snow, it was the worst and biggest (area) snowstorm on record. Here on the coast we got off lightly, no snow, but three days of (flooding) rain, wind, and an average temperature of 9 degrees C, which to us softies felt like below zero. Inland it was very much below zero at minus 24C… I think my fingers and toes would´ve dropped off. Fortunately we live about 3K back and uphill from the ferocious sea, so no flooding up here, but we could hear the crashing breakers coming from the Med. 

Farmers in these coastal regions welcomed the rain after months of none. The main crops close to the Med are oranges, lemons, and almond trees, oh and grapes, so at least we won´t run out of wine…

Welcome to Spain, oh wait, you can´t get here.

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