Tomatoes prices high due to freeze - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tomatoes prices high due to freeze

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –If you're a tomato lover, get ready to peel out a few extra bucks when you buy them.

Freezing temperatures have damaged Florida's tomato crop, and that's driving prices up.

Mark Daniel, owner of Mark's Melon Patch has never seen tomato prices so high for so long.

"I've never seen tomatoes cost 45 dollars a box before wholesale," said Daniel.

He says normally around this time of the year a box of tomatoes costs him around twenty dollars.

"Our cost is more than double what it normally is right now," said Daniel.

Same goes for the owner of the Cookie Shoppe, Mona Qaqish.

"This is three times what we usually pay," said Mona.

Several retailers are feeling the effects of Florida's unusually cold Winter which damaged Florida's tomato crop and drove up prices.

"I knew when that cold weather hit it was going to be bad, but it is even worse than I predicted," said Daniel.

Mark Daniel says customers haven't stopped buying tomatoes but they are buying less.

"Instead of buying a tray of tomatoes they buy a pound of tomatoes just cutting back till the price adjusts itself," said Daniel.

But he's not passing the cost down to the customers.

"We are charging $2.75 and we are hardly making anything off of it," said Daniel.

Mona says she has seen tomato prices rise before due to weather.

"At one point when tomatoes were high I did not serve tomatoes on the sandwich," said Mona.

But this time she decided to just absorb the cost.

"Its less of a headache, less complaining from the customers," said Mona.

But she is making her tomatoes last longer.

"We just put one slice on there, we don't put two like we usually do or on a sub we usually put three," said Mona.

Daniel says he expects prices to turn around in the next few weeks.

Georgia's top Tomato producing months are May June and July so farmers say they are thankful the shortage is not affecting their biggest sales period.

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