Supply Chain Crisis; A Brooklyn View

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Lots of recent sturm und drang regarding the global supply chain crisis..

These problems have yet to hit us, although I suppose it might be prudent to stock up on toilet papa=

I continue to plow my small furrow, on the essential issues – food, basically.

Which means what  buy from the NYC greenmarket, supplemented local store.s As topped up by occasional visits to

 

 

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31 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    We seem to be experiencing a rest of the saga shortage in the supply chain, lets blame it on semiconductor chips.

    Reply
      1. jsn

        It’s a 6,000 word essay, but all the letters are stranded in a container off Sandy Hook with the fuel injector parts for my Audi.

        Reply
  2. Elijah

    A message from the embattled Brooklyn! However brief, what a window into that now foreign world… May your stockpiles remain plentiful! Godspeed. :p

    Reply
  3. Michael Ismoe

    Apparently JLS can’t finish this entry. Every word in America has been commandeered to be put into the next Democratic reconciliation bill. Please stop back tomorrow when a new supply of words will be coming in on a container ship from China.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      “Every word in America has been commandeered to be put into the next Democratic reconciliation bill.”

      Made my day. Thanks!

      Reply
  4. Dr. John Carpenter

    For what it’s worth, I’m here in Indiana. I do pick-up or delivery for groceries. Because it’s just me, I usually get groceries about twice a month. My options around here are pretty much all chains, Kroger, Meijer, WalMart, Sam’s. I can usually count on receiving a few alternate items in every order and at least 2-5 items not filled at all. Even during the great TP panic of 2020, I was able to get almost everything or an alternate.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        My backpacking partner has brought a Kelly Kettle for years on trips, all you need is little twigs as tinder and once you get the fire going, feed more twigs through the top open middle between outer water sleeve.

        Most everything we eat that needs preparation is freeze dried so all we need is boiled water for that or hot beverages, so it eliminates the need for a stove, fuel & pot.

        It would double nicely for purifying water by boiling in lieu of filtering.

        Reply
  5. Harry

    An insta pot makes all legume dishes MUCH easier to cook. I found dahl particularly easy. But the longer the cooking time the more useful the instant pot is.

    Re the piece, can you post again? Perhaps the extra piece could be deleted after?

    Reply
  6. gsinbe

    An Instapot tip. The pressure seal depends on your gasket in the lid. Apparently, they’re surprisingly expensive to replace. Ours stopped making a good seal after a few months, and the pot would start to cook, but then the valve would open as the pressure dropped. The problem was solved (so far) by rubbing a thin film of coconut oil on the metal rim that meets the gasket. Still have to keep an eye on it, however…

    Reply
  7. ptb

    Ironically, Instapot (which is pretty cool) introduces a microchip based product into feeding your household.

    As far as supply chain affecting food, in less-wealthy countries, my immediate concern would be fertilizer prices.

    If the global natural gas price increases last (could be anywhere from a month or two to a year or two, depending on global developments, weather, and the race between the buildout of supply in Russia and Qatar, vs the buildout of various infrastructure in China), it would hit fertilizer prices hard — natgas is the main driver there. If you can afford to live in NYC it will be a minor impact, but in a lot of countries it will be very painful. I’d look for second order effects as soon as the growing season in the Southern hemisphere.

    Reply
  8. Leftist Mole

    I cook a number of Chinese dishes. So far the Bay Area asian supermarkets seem stocked as usual, but a lot of goods come from overseas manufacturers. Happily the noodles, tofu, and veggies are from local sources.

    I’m glad to know my days of shopping at ToysRus are long gone. My kids’ phase for plastic toys was mercifully short. When it comes to gift giving, I suggest people go to their nearest craft fair, and support some artisans.

    Reply
  9. David in Santa Cruz

    Very little food is imported in America, so supply-chain issues have been pretty mild in my experience.

    When we’re at our rural retreat the store has run out of certain items, but the only one that was much of a bother was Swiffer wet sweeping cloths (I found some on a back shelf at a shop mostly frequented by “weekend people” who don’t do their own cleaning). However, we are putting up a new house there and supply-chain issues abound in that realm. Appliances are back-ordered 9 months, our builder has to stockpile plumbing and electrical components, and manufactured lumber like joists and trusses must be ordered three months in advance when in “normal” times two weeks would have sufficed. We’re also being told to order any furniture six months out.

    We’re told that some of these issues are supply-chain related, but that “work-from-home” has caused a spike in demand for building materials that the industry is reluctant to meet through increasing capacity, preferring to price-gouge instead.

    Reply
    1. MonkeyBusiness

      I don’t have any data to back me up but I agree with your statement that very little food is imported in America. It would not matter though if there’s a big Red Blue conflict.

      Reply
    2. Code Name D

      Very little food is imported in America, so supply-chain issues have been pretty mild in my experience.

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Here is a New York Times Article that would beg to differ.

      Thirty-three percent of vegetables, 55 percent of fruits and 94 percent of the seafood we eat is imported. Each year, billions of pounds of food are produced in China.

      https://nypost.com/2020/06/10/why-we-should-get-a-lot-less-food-from-china/

      And one need not import to run into supply-chain issues or shortages. Just google “milk shortage” and you will see that we have had problems with the milk supply chain for years. The corporates media would have you believe this is the result of work-stoppages or labor shortages (I am going to need to see some evidence before I buy that), but older articles note the intense restrictions of long-term supply contracts as well as drought conditions reducing production.

      Reply
      1. David in Santa Cruz

        Of course you’re correct — I was thinking about containerized cargo. Much of our fruit and vegetables are now sourced in Mexico and Chile and much of the protein sold by fast-food chains is sourced in Latin America as well.

        A local anecdote — after NAFTA our local District Attorney sued Green Giant for labeling their formerly locally-grown and packed frozen vegetables “American Medlies,” claiming fraudulent labeling because they are now grown and packed in Sonora, Mexico (eventually thrown out of court).

        I do stand by my assertion that I have yet to see significant shortages of foodstuffs, but I have the good fortune to live in a very productive region and can afford to shop at farmer’s markets.

        Reply
        1. howseth

          I’m in Santa Cruz – Yes – on the Farmers Markets – they are overflowing with produce here – and have been over the course of the pandemic. This is still a productive growing region
          Just about to go off to the Wednesday downtown one.

          Reply
  10. Glen

    Seems like it would be a good time to make more stuff in America, but instead i see calls to build more ports.

    Remember when the balance of trade was a concern? According to the US Gov census, the trade balance for 2020 was -911,056.1 million dollars. Yes, thats right, we almost reached a trillion dollars of imported goods. I’m sure we can break a trillion this year.

    Reply
  11. Maritimer

    Community Supported Agriculture
    There are farmers who offer programs selling produce. See:
    https://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?map=1&lat=40.695473&lon=-73.99272&scale=9&ty=6&zip=11201
    That link is for Brooklyn, NJ area. Some CSA will deliver and also offer food packages. Depends on your area.

    Also consider independent health food stores which will order bulk products for you. I order flour, beans and other food. The flour is from an old mill which was restored and uses locally grown grains. Industrial be damned.

    Keeping your $$$ out of the hands of the Stuporstores is a wholesome idea.

    Reply
  12. Raymond Sim

    Just went and asked my wife why she doesn’t use the pressure cooker for dals anymore. Answer: Pressure cooking is quicker, but requires closer attention and is usually more work to clean up, potentially a lot more if you’re inattentive. And she’s actually been interested in the electronic ones…

    At which point I got a significant look. I don’t even like rice cookers.

    On the other hand I feel like pressure-cooked legumes maybe taste a bit better, especially in recipes that include asafoetida. (Not something I would ever have anticipated having an opinion about.)

    So, Jerri-Lynn, I’m mostly rooting for you to have a great experience with your cooker. But if you were to hate it, and denounce it in a scathing review, the part of me that delights in uncluttered counters would be quietly pleased..

    Reply

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