Freeze-damaged Valley crops could cost you at the supermarket

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 18 at 10:50 AM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It wasn’t just people fighting the chill these past four nights. Thousands of acres of Arizona’s farmland were forced to ride out temperatures below freezing without much protection. Farmers are only starting to learn how much they’ve lost.

"As the product starts thawing out, then that’s when you really truly find out what the damage is on it," said Patty Emmert with Duncan Family Farms in Goodyear. 

She can tell fairly quickly that her heads of romaine lettuce aren’t in great shape.

"We’re getting a lot of the burning on the tip from the frost, and then the frost also sucks the moisture out of it and the leaves will start blistering so much it’s like a sunburn," she said. 

What’s more concerning is that with citrus, damage is not as obvious, and it could be weeks before we know how much this has crippled the crop. Unfortunately, this freeze will likely affect your wallet much sooner.

"Everyone has felt the effects of this," Emmert said. "We’re going to definitely see a price increase on the retail shelves when we go grocery shopping. There’s just no way around it."

How much that’ll be is anyone’s guess, but Emmert estimates the region’s lost some 30 percent of its product.

"There is no way we’re going to come out of this and it not impact us," she said.

 

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