A major freeze in Mexico earlier this month has resulted in a shortage across the U.S. of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and other produce that could last until April and lead to higher prices at the grocery store.
Supermarkets, distributors and restaurant chains are scrambling to find other sources for the items and to offer replacements. But the problem has been compounded by the fact that inclement weather has also hit other growing regions, like Florida and Texas, that would normally be able to make up for a supply interruption from Mexico.
"It's extremely unusual for more than one production area to experience abnormal weather in the same year. We are continuing to harvest tomatoes in Florida, but our current volume is maybe half of what it would normally be," said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, adding that a 25-pound box of tomatoes went from costing less than $15 to more than $30 in the past week.