Freezing temperatures are causing produce prices to go up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Freezing temperatures are causing produce prices to go up

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Gulf Coast Produce Company supplies produce to many casinos, restaurants, schools and hospitals. Vice President Mike Alise says freezing temperatures across the country have made it a tough few weeks.

"We have seen prices triple and quadruple in the last week and now we are basically seeing them change every hour," Alise said.

The company gets lettuce, romaine and other green products from California where icicles are forming on the produce at night.

"Once the ice thaws out the lettuce starts wilting. It's not like strawberries, where you can sprinkle water on at night and then they won't freeze. This is the problem," Alise said. "We are talking about green leaf lettuce, ice burg, romaine and broccoli. All the sensitive items, we as consumers, eat everyday."

Potatoes and onions are also hard to come by. They are shipped in from Idaho and crews cannot load them on the trucks without them freezing.

So far Gulf Coast Produce buyer Steve Castleman said they have still been able to get enough to meet their customers demands, however that is not the case for asparagus.

"They declared an act of God on all asparagus, which means that if there are any contracts or any kind of set pricing, that is thrown out," Castleman said.

Usually they get three crates of asparagus, but the company only received one this past week.

This is not just a problem for wholesale buyers, the price hike will affect anyone who eats fresh produce.

Alise said, "The full effect you will see across the board. From the household to going to the grocery store."

If you are on a budget Alise recommends buying lettuce in a bag because processing plants will salvage whatever they can from the spoiled products or he said you can opt for frozen or canned produce.

"We are in for a tough winter and it looks like one blast after another and understand produce is controlled by mother nature and we do the best we can when dealing with mother nature," Alise said.

If we do not see another hard freeze come through Alise said prices could go down by early March, but if the cold weather continues it will be even longer.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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