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Consumers to See Price Increase for CA Fruit

Expect to pay more for California fruit in the coming weeks. The string of subfreezing nights has affected nearly every winter crop. As KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce explains, the cost of fruit could also be

Consumers to See Price Increase for CA Fruit

Expect to pay more for California fruit in the coming weeks. The string of subfreezing nights has affected nearly every winter crop. As KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce explains, the cost of fruit could also be higher next year.

San Diego Farm Bureau executive director Eric Larson says the state’s farmers will know the full cost of crop damage next week.

Larson: I think those losses are going to creep up to a billion dollars when all is said and done. Because a lot of damage from frost doesn’t show up for a week, ten days, maybe two weeks. So those numbers, I think will continue to grow.

Larson says next year’s crops will also be affected.

Larson: The story we’re not telling is how much damage to the trees themselves. If the trees were frozen through and the budwood is damaged or the trees are damaged there could be a real long shadow affect for the growers who got hurt.

Mike Marks is a produce analyst based in Sacramento. Marks says damaged trees means we’ll pay more for fruits and vegetables next year.

Marks: A freeze like this can impact tree fruit like this for a couple of years. But normally after two-to-three years you should be getting back to somewhat normal levels.”

The citrus crop has been hit the hardest. Marks says prices for navel oranges will be steep.

Marks: I think you’re going to find within a week prices will go up. Dance around two-dollars a pound, up to three-dollars a pound and once we realize the full extent of this, prices could be up to four-dollars a pound.

The cold snap has dropped temperatures in many growing areas below 25 degrees. The nighttime warming efforts by farmers do little to save the crops when temperatures are so frigid. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.