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Florida Freeze Could Affect Produce Prices In Colorado

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Frozen oranges in Florida (credit: CBS)

Frozen oranges in Florida (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Record cold in Florida may put a shiver in Coloradans’ wallets with higher produce prices.

Almost all of Florida remains under a hard freeze warning. In fact, with the crazy weather it’s much warmer in Denver than in Florida right now. On Tuesday seven record lows were either tied or broken in Florida.

Supermarkets say customers in Colorado could see higher prices, and not just on oranges. The economic impact on the Florida freeze could be far-reaching. In the winter, Florida is the nation’s top supplier of produce. So far this winter Florida is averaging 20 degrees colder than Colorado.

“We are concerned about the freeze,” a King Soopers shopper said. “Groceries are expensive anyway.”

King Soopers buys much of its winter vegetables from Florida. While its citrus comes from California, the price of that too will likely rise as does the demand.

“We look to buy from other regions — other places where we can get our fruits and vegetables to try to keep those costs down and pass those savings on to our customers,” Kelley McCanan with King Soopers said.

 

With so much at stake growers in Florida arranged for helicopters to hover lower over fields hoping they could force warm air downward. It’s expensive and risky but it may also be the last line of defense.

“I think everybody is watching what’s going to happen in Florida. It’s projected that they’re going to have a freeze there again tonight,” McCanan said.

In addition to grocers, restaurants could also feel the pain from the freeze.

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