Already faced with the absence of local food icon Marmite, Kiwis now have to go without another – the humble kumara.
A shortage of the tuber has even meant fast-food franchise Burger Fuel had to take their popular kumara fries off the menu last week in their New Zealand and Australian stores.
Burger Fuel marketing manager Alexis Lam said supplies from their Dargaville producer had run short after a bad growing season.
‘‘We apologise for the shortage. We’re hoping for kumara fries to be back in March – we’re expecting new season kumara in March.’’
Kumara were also noticeably absent or running low on supermarket shelves in the past few weeks, but foodies can rest assured – the red variety of the tuber at least will be back in stores across the country within days.
Downpours of rain in Northland, where the majority of the country’s supplies are grown, during last season’s planting and during harvesting led to lower than usual supplies to be stored for the rest of the year, Dargaville kumara grower Andre de Bruin said.
This led to increased prices, and in some areas, including Wellington and Christchurch, the Sunday roast staple was completely unavailable.
De Bruin said, in response to the shortage, farmers had harvested their crops of the red variety early. The orange and golden varieties would be off the menu for slightly longer, however, as they would not be harvested until mid-February.
‘‘There’s going to be a good supply of kumara coming through.’’
‘‘The nice part about those three or four days when the pipe was dry was the fact that you won’t get new and old season mixed up on the displays in the shelves.’’
- The Dominion Post