Californians are calling it a citrus disaster.
Low temperatures in the twenties, for days in a row have wreaked havoc on their winter harvest, and supermarkets across the nation, and here in Michiana are bracing for some major produce price hikes.
A four-day spell of freezing temperatures has California farmers fighting to keep their crops alive.
But the battles already lost for many.
California growers estimate that they've lost up to 75 percent of their citrus crops, and a billion dollars.
Soon shoppers will be shelling out more green for an orange.
Ed Osowski, produce director for martin’s says “Citrus prices, they're going to basically be up for the season, so the next two three months.”
It's simple law of supply and demand. With less produce available on the market, even prices on citrus from Florida, are expected to go up.
“By taking out the California naval crop, which is the primary citrus crop right now, that’s going to affect the crops in the other states,” Osowski says.
The focus is on citrus right now, but the California freeze will take a toll on other produce prices.
Shoppers can expect to pay more for lettuce, strawberries, avocados and carrots.
So is there a price that’s too much to pay for produce?
Depends on whom you ask.
“I would definitely still buy it. I just don’t think there’s an alternative that’s as good,” says Beth O’Connor, one shopper.
“I think I’d have to really want the orange in order to pay that much,” says another, Anne Penner.
Citrus prices are expected to climb next week....
Just how much is hard to say.
Right now, an orange at Martin’s is fifty cents, California produce suppliers estimate that might jump as high as a dollar fifty.