Cold winter drives up cost of produce - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cold winter drives up cost of produce

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –The harsh winter is driving up the price of produce.

It's a tough time for produce sellers and for many south Georgia farmers who can't plant their seeds because of the cold and wet soil.

And all of us will likely feel their pain at the checkout counter.

The long cold winter has caused the price of produce to go up. All produce markets have to sell is well produce, and when it gets high people don't buy.

"They don't have to have it just like those restaurants they don't have to use tomatoes," said Phil Etheridge, Farmer Brown's Produce Market.

Some others that have gone up are cucumbers, peppers, and squash. Etheridge says squash typically comes in a three quarter bushel box and you can by those boxes for about 6-12 dollars. But now, that's not the case.

"The ones I have now cost me $38 for half a bushel so you're getting a quarter of a bushel less for a whole lot more money," said Etheridge.

For a 25 pound box of tomatoes, Farmer Brown's typically pays between 8 and 12 dollars but the ones here Thursday cost $46 for the same amount.

"When people come in her and they expect to see 89 cent tomatoes and then see them for $1.69 they just don't buy them like they would," said Etheridge.

The grapes they get from Chile this time of year but with the earthquake, they're having problems getting those kinds of fruits.

Farmers are having trouble planting seeds in the wet cold soil.

"The preparing of dirt and all is so wet and it won't dry out," said Billy Herndon, owner of Herndon and Son's Farms.  "It's just taken along time for it to dry out. I can't get the dirt prepared for when we do need to plant."

He says they plant seeds during March.

"The cost to grow the crops has increased," said Herndon. "Fertilizer's more. Seeds are more. There's a shortage of seeds."

Herndon is even driving to Alabama Friday to buy pea seeds.


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