FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Shoppers will feel the sting from a string of subfreezing nights in California’s citrus groves and other farming areas, with prices for oranges, lemons, avocados and other produce poised to double or triple in the upcoming weeks, according to California fruit and citrus industry officials.
“We may adjust the prices as we discover the full extent of the damage next week, but for now, if you bought an orange at the supermarket for 50 cents, expect to pay a dollar to $1.49 for it,” said Todd Steel, owner of Royal Vista Marketing, which sells California citrus to markets throughout the country.
With the NFL playoffs in full swing, some fans may choose to go without two traditional football favorites.
“Avocados are expensive enough as it is,” said Joseph Vasquez, a 32-year-old school teacher from Pasadena. “We may have to do without guacamole for a while. And we may be drinking our Coronas without limes.”
Nearly every winter crop is affected by the freeze, from avocados to strawberries to fresh-cut flowers, but it’s the state’s citrus crop that stands to take the biggest economic hit. California is the nation’s No. 1 producer of fresh citrus, growing about 86 percent of lemons and 21 percent of oranges sold in the U.S., according to the California Farm Bureau. Florida produces more oranges, but those are mostly processed for orange juice.