By Mike Blake and Christopher Walljasper
HOLTVILLE, Calif. (Reuters) – There should be tractors rumbling across Jack Vessey’s ranch, pulling wagons full of fresh-cut romaine lettuce to be packed and shipped to restaurants and grocery stores across the United States.
Instead, as the coronavirus outbreak upends the nation’s food distribution network, a tractor and plow destroyed rows and rows of green produce on Wednesday.
“You put your blood, sweat and tears into a crop,” said Vessey, president of Holtville, California-based Vessey and Company, Inc. “To just disc it into the ground: It’s painful.”
The lockdown in most U.S. states that started in mid-March created a logjam of fruit and vegetables bound for restaurants across the country. The effects of the business closures rippled throughout the supply chain, reaching even the produce…