California Fires May Affect Local Produce Prices

The price of your produce may be a casualty of the California wildfires. Avocados and tomatoes appear to be the hardest hit, but it may be a while before we feel the effects. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains who is coming to the rescue to bring you your produce.

We're turning to Mexico, even South America to export crops we usually get from California. The bad news is you'll see prices go up a bit, the good news is it's expected to be short-lived. In the peak season affiliated foods relies on California producers to supply half of their avocados. Because of the wildfires, they're looking south for help.

"As of right now, there aren't any effects we're seeing yet because there's a lot coming in from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, so long term effects you might see later," says Miguel Herrera, of Affiliated Foods.

Herrera says in these kinds of situations there isn't much they can do, other than look to other suppliers, and suffer any additional costs.

"When you pull them from South America, the cost of fuel has driven the price up just a bit," says Herrera.

"The additional heat from the fires caused the tomatoes to ripen quicker than they normally would, so there are lot of crop in the fields now that were staged to be harvested that are now over-ripe. There will be some affect there in the tomato market," says Scott Lankford, of Plains Produce.

Producers were able to save some tomatoes by picking them before they were ripe, so Plains Produce is waiting to sell them. Lankford says some of their customers may reduce their orders because they know the vegetables are scarce, but the hold out won't last long. In all California lost about 20,000 acres of avocado trees, and there's no telling how many are still threatened.