Friday, January 7, 2011

Cold snaps make for scarce, costly produce

On a grocery run after work Tuesday evening, I circled the produce section several times looking for strawberries, thinking I was not looking carefully enough. Another customer, too, wondered where the red berries were and asked the produce clerk: "No more strawberries?"

The clerk politely informed us that strawberries -- what there are of them -- have been selling out by early afternoon during these recent winter weeks. As the Bradenton Herald reports Saturday with news partner Miami Herald, the cold snap is causing some vegetables and fruit to be more costly these days.

Though strawberries weren't hit as hard as other Florida crops, other crops were not as fortunate. Florida tomatoes were among some of the hardest hit in Florida. Many growers lost all of their tomato crop and prices for tomatoes increased about 25 to 40 percent across the board.

"As soon as (farmers) knew they were going to lose those crops, tomato prices shot up," said George Caldwell, director of purchasing at Global Organics Specialty Source, a Manatee County-based organic supply company.

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