The hard frosts that hit Florida’s orange groves last month are starting to have an impact on fruit prices in Iowa supermarkets, according to analyst Darren Newsome at the Omaha-based Data Transmissions Network. Newsome says, “Here, over the next couple months, we’re going to see a price increase for much of the citrus.”
He says the futures market may be a good indicator as to how much more Iowans will have to pay at the grocery store for oranges, lemons, limes and other produce. Newsome says, “We may see the futures market settle down as the weather turns more seasonable but the cash price, what we wind up paying, I think that’s going to hang around for a while.”
This is the second year in a row Florida citrus and produce growers have suffered frost damage to their crops.
“They are in a cycle right now where weather events, like most every other crop worldwide, are causing some havoc with production,” he says. Newsome says as long as the futures market for citrus and other produce remains high, those items will cost more at the grocery store.
“If we start to see overall futures markets start to head lower, then that would at least be a sign that maybe these higher prices at the store aren’t going to be here all that long,” according to Newsome. Producers in Florida have lost at least $115-million in crops due to the December freezes. Along with oranges and grapefruit, many other Florida crops were damaged, including: peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, sweet corn and string beans.