Panic Pricing Makes Fruit Costs Climb

California citrus growers are now saying they have lost nearly 800 million dollars due to the deep freeze felt across the country.

We have been following this story, and today Newschannel10's Tina Berasley found out that drop in temperature is affecting prices here in the panhandle. 

Wholesaler Barry Hawkins is used to paying more for produce in the winter months because the supply can only come from certain places, but this year's extra cold weather has hit those warm climates he has come to count on. 

He said "Due to shortage of things coming out of California it caused what I call "Panic Pricing". Mexico, Florida all of those things jumped even though they are not coming out of California at this point".

That so-called "Panic Pricing" is driving up other non-citrus fruits and vegetables.  Popular items like tomatoes, avocados, bananas and even onions are seeing an increase of as much as 15 dollars a case. 

Just last week 5 cases of lettuce cost a little over fifty dollars. Today that same fifty dollars could only buy you 2 cases of lettuce, an increase of almost 80 percent.

Owners of businesses that are both restaurants and supermarkets are being hit twice as hard. One is buying less than 50 percent of what they were just last week. 

Angel Arreola nd his wife Paula co-own Carniceria La Popular in Amarillo. He said "If we get a whole bunch of it we wont be able to sell it because of the high prices so we kind of keeping it low."

Paula said "People used to buy like 2 or 3 lbs of tomatoes or jalapenos and now they are buying like half. We have to wait I guess and give them time because I hope it wont go, we wont like to increase the prices for our customers."

The Arreolas tell us produce is their second best seller in their supermarket after meat.