Cold winter causes tomato shortage

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - The cold weather this winter has hit Florida tomato growers hard. The department of agriculture said the prolonged cold spell destroyed more than eighty percent of the state's tomato crop.

Florida is a key tomato supplier during the winter months and as you can imagine the chain reaction is being felt across the country including Region 8.

Major food chains like Wendy's are being forced to make some changes. Instead of coming already on the burgers, they're asking customers to request the tomatoes.

Subway is also seeing a shortage. Cody Campbell, Manager at the Subway on Johnson Avenue in Jonesboro, said they are feeling the effects.

Campbell said, "Just last week we ordered I think eight boxes of tomatoes and they sent us five because they ran out. There is no tomatoes that they have."

Campbell said the other local subways have had the same problems. Subway has cut the number of tomatoes on a foot long sandwich from six to four in order to save as much as possible. However, the quantity of the tomatoes is not the only problem.

Campbell said, "They used to be real big, real juicy, real nice tomatoes and they real didn't cost much, about $20 a box. Now this past week they've gone from $20 to about $28 and we get about half the tomatoes."

Debbie Ray, Produce Manager at Hays Supermarket, said she's noticed a difference in the tomatoes they receive too.

Ray said, "Tomatoes are coming in a little greener, so you're gonna have to let them set a little longer to ripen."

Ray said they are not seeing a shortage in tomatoes at Hays, but their prices have increased more than a dollar per pound.

Ray said, "Even though we have had a price increase, they're not really affected the sale of them in our stores."

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