On April 19th, 2022, in Dufur, Oregon, Azure Standard headquarters facility goes up in flames. Azure Standard is one of the largest independent, family owned, managed farms and independent distributor of natural, organic, non-GMO foods. This is just the latest in a long list of food processing plants to be utterly destroyed. In an email to all of their members, CEO David Stelzer issued a statement. He said, ” While the headquarter facility is a total loss, and a few product lines will be affected for the short term, other Azure standard facilities are operating as close to normal as possible. Most importantly, we are grateful no one was injured. Our dedication to providing the highest quality food and products will continue as always. We ask for your patience and prayers as we take steps to adjust and rebuild. We appreciate our Azure community and the many expressions of support we are receiving and we will continue to update our vendors and customers as needed. We expect the impact to be short term, limited in scope and manageable.”
Stelzer went on to specify that only three product groups have been affected. Primarily liquids, fruit, and carob facilities were affected. This means that most Azure Market liquid products would be out of stock moving forward as well as most of their carob products. The fruit harvest had not come in yet, so the company is hoping it will not affect their ability to provide fruit products longer term.
On March 31st of 2022 in San Juan, Texas structure fire also significantly damaged a large portion of the fresh onion packing facility and warehouse.
— Dr. Benjamin Braddock (@GraduatedBen) April 20, 2022
On April 14th 2022 Taylor Farms in Salinas CA also went up in flames.
— J831 (@JaimeNoyola) April 14, 2022
Additionally on April 13th a plane hit gem state processing in Heyburn which is in east Idaho. This occurred at around 8:35 AM on Wednesday. Police say the pilot was the only person that died during the crash. None of the employees were harmed. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety board are investigating this crash. They have yet to determine the cause of the crash. It is unknown what effect it will have on Gem State processing. Gem state processes over 18,000 acres of potatoes according to Oregon potato. “The City of Heyburn sends its condolences to the family of the pilot, the aviation company, and to the Gem State Processing family during this difficult time,” police said in a news release.”
On March 29th of 2022, a Maricopa food pantry also went up in flames destroying 50,000 pounds of food. The fire happened just 15 minutes after the food bank had closed on Monday morning. The fire came dangerously close to Mountain View Community Church. It is still unknown what caused the fire. “What hurts the most is the impact on the community around us. A lot of people benefitted around here. Maricopa is a food desert. There isn’t a lot of food banks and stuff out here,” said Connelly.
An explosion happened at Shearers Foods in Hermiston, Oregon, February 22nd of 2022. No deaths were reported from that blast, but the damage made the plant’s future very unclear. City officials were concerned what this would mean for their local economy. “It looks like everything is indicating that it is going to be a big loss, and we don’t know what the parent company will decide to do,” Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith told The Tri-City Herald. “But we know that 400 people roughly worked there, so it will have a big impact on the community.” Multiple medical and fire units had to arrive at the facility because employees reported possible injuries from a boiler explosion. Seven workers at the facility had to be treated at the Good Shepherd Health Care System. All patients were reported as in stable and fair condition on February 22nd 2022.
While all of these processing plants are going up in flames, having planes run into them, or having boilers suddenly explode, we also have a bird flu going on which killed over 27 million chickens and turkeys. Let us also not forget that Union Pacific is refusing to send fertilizer and grain down its rail lines for unknown reasons. Taken together, one can only wonder where this will lead. As they say, once or twice is a coincidence, but anything more is a pattern.