West Coast Cold Snap Affects Local Citrus Sales

Shoppers in the panhandle may have to pay for crops lost in a California cold snap. Local suppliers are already paying three times more for a box of oranges then they paid last week. 

NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg has a look at how expensive it could get for citrus lovers.

It will be a few days before we know just how much damage orange, avocado and strawberry crops suffered in sub-freezing temperatures last weekend.

Some customers are already making changes to their shopping lists to make way for the expected price hike.  "I bought it today, but if it goes double or whatever I won't be buying them I will just hold off," says Shannon Jarnagin, an Amarillo shopper.

"I think people will substitute other foods with the food they can't get ahold of whether it's can or whatever," says Ted Abrahamson.

It will probably be next week before these citrus prices go up as a result of the cold snap, but suppliers like Affiliated Foods are already feeling the sting.  "We had to immediately pull strawberries and oranges from adds, so we're having to look for alternative items. This is the (worst cold snap) one we've seen in 20 years," says Harold Callaway, the director of produce with Affiliated Foods.

Affiliated Foods delivers 400,000 pounds of oranges every week and Callaway says that number could be reduced by half once growers assess all the damages in California. 

We also spoke with citrus lovers who will stick with the fruit no matter the price.  "I think they are so healthy, I think we should, yeah I still will. Orange juice is going to go up too, but I think you have to have it," says Susan O'Neal.

Have to have it so much that everyone we spoke with was stocking up.  So did that make you want to grab a couple extra today? "Right, to get me through the next cold snap," says Jarnagin.

Callaway says the lack of citrus is forcing them to re-think marketing Valentine's Day, since they usually advertise strawberry's for the holiday.