FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Grocery stores in Fairbanks are experiencing a shortage of some foods today after one of the barges that brings supplies up from Outside was unable to leave port last week.
The Fairbanks Co-op Market is out of fruit and is running low on dairy products. Other grocery stores in the area also appear to have been affected as well, though managers at the major grocery stores in town refused to comment.
Mary Christensen, the general manager of the Co-op Market, said it’s not uncommon for Fairbanks stores to experience shortages in January, but those shortages are usually because of rough seas in the Gulf of Alaska. The most recent shortage, according to Christensen, occurred because the barge that was set to leave for Fairbanks last week experienced technical issues that forced it to stay in port.
Grocery stores like the Co-op market receive much of their perishable food in shipments that are shipped by barge from Outside and transported by truck multiple times each week
Managers at the Fred Meyer and Safeway stores in Fairbanks said they are not allowed to talk to the media. The managers directed questions to regional offices, which did not return calls Monday.
A manager at one of the grocery stores in town said different stores receive different products on each barge, so stores may be missing or short on items in varying departments. Fred Meyer East, for instance, was running low on much of its meat on Monday.
The Co-op Market announced the shortage in a post on its Facebook page Monday.
“You may have noticed stores around town with empty meat shelves,” the post states. “This proves the value of having a strong local agricultural community.”
According to Christensen, the Co-op Market was spared the shortage of meat because it buys much of its meat locally instead of having it shipped up via barge and truck.
“Our purpose is to support local agriculture in order to mitigate this when it happens,” Christensen said. “We have potatoes because we get them locally.”
The shortage is unlikely to last more than a couple days at most, according to Christensen, since stores receive multiple shipments each week.
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