No tomatoes? Blame the cold weather

I have been posting on the severe cold weather we have had here in Jupiter.  Plants and trees particularly hard hit have been the tropical varieties.  Those tougher plants or the ones originating in colder climates have fared much better.

In a recent post I discussed backyard gardening here in Jupiter Farms.  My garden was damaged and we picked a lot of the veggies and gave them to friends rather than have them frozen and ruined.  Now, I find out I am not alone.  In the Palm Beach Post there was an article on the lack of tomatoes everywhere.

Quoting from their article, "This was an unforeseen circumstance and if we can absorb the costs on our end, we want to help our customers as much as possible,' said Kim Jaeger, South Florida spokeswoman for Publix, which has increased prices to consumers by less than a dime since last year.

Supply problems are likely to continue until Florida's tomato production returns to normal levels, which may not be until late March or early April.

Even those fields that growers in Homestead and Palm Beach County were able to salvage are not producing at anywhere near the normal levels. Continued cold weather is slowing the growth cycle of new tomatoes.

Florida tomato production for the period since the freeze is off about 70 percent, compared with the same period last year, said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange.

"Tomatoes are relatively scarce,' said Brown, whose group represents the majority of the state's tomato growers.

I'm sure that getting produce from Mexico is not on the top of anyone's list and the increased interest in growing your own, backyard gardening, backyard chickens and anything else that can help decrease your dependence on others.

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