Attention has been focused on the frost damage to the Florida citrus crop, but a local wholesaler of produce said people should be aware of what's happened to vegetables here.
Ronald Salins, whose company, Sol Salins, is located in the Florida Avenue market, said early this week that in the 45 years his company has been in business he "has never seen prices this high. Cabbage, which was $5 to $6 for 50 pounds two weeks ago, is $13.50 to $14.50," he said. And as he was talking a new quote on the vegetable came in, which raised the price another $2.
Two weeks ago cabbage was welling at retail for about 9 or 11 cents a pound; last week it was 39 cents a pound.
Under ordinary circumstances some of Florida's crop loss would be offset by California produce, but California is facing its own problems. Areas of the state that need rain aren't getting it; areas that are too wet already are getting more rain than they need. Crops that are affected by these topsyturvy weather conditions are oranges, grapes, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, asparagus, almonds, raisins, peaches and plums.
In Florida the so-colled tender vegetables such as squash and tomatoes have been all but wiped out. Ordinarily when produce is shipped, it is the shipper's responsibility to see that it arrives in good condition at the wholesalers, but Salins said a Florida tomato shipper told him Monday morning, "When we load the tomatoes on the truck in Florida and they come in rotten, they're yours."
Twenty pounds of tomatoes had been-selling for $5 or $6; Monday they were $13, Salins said, and most of them are coming out of Mexico.
Green beans that had been $8 for 28 pounds were $14 Monday, but Salins said after Tuesday or Wednesday there wouldn't be any at any price. He predicted it would be another 60 to 90 days before there are fresh supplies.
Fruits and vegetables are not the only food being affected by teh unusual weather conditions: eggs, lamb and beef are, too.
California's drought has forced ranchers to import hay at exorbitant prices. As a result, many ranchers are selling off their herds, which will mean higher prices.
Chickens lay many fewer eggs in extremely cold weather and according to one egg buyer, eggs may cost as much as $1 a dozen by the end of this week.
With coffee prices setting record levels, orange juice and eggs in short supply, the traditional coffee, orange juice and two-egg breakfast may go the way fo the one-horse shay.