Harsh Winter Makes Tomatoes Scarce, Pricey
70% of Florida's crop is destroyed
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2010 2:16 PM CST
This photo taken Sept. 24, 2009, shows tomatoes, and a few beans, from the University of Delaware's Garden for the Community.   (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

(Newser) – The unusually cold winter is leaving a lasting effect on Florida: a severe tomato shortage that has forced restaurants and supermarkets to ration supplies. The year's crop of tomatoes have been diminished by 70%, pushing the price of a 25-pound box to $30—a huge increase over the usual $6.45. Relief for consumers may not come until April, when the new crop arrives.

Restaurants are warning customers that they may have to do without, and even if they do get it, "the quality just isn't what they are used to," the president of a Florida restaurant tells the Wall Street Journal. At Wendy's and some other fast-food restaurants, tomatoes aren't automatically included in sandwiches. Patrons have to ask.