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El Nino driving up produce prices at the store

Posted at 7:03 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 22:31:13-05

A wet winter in South Florida means higher produce prices, especially in crops that grow on the vine, such as tomato, squash, zucchini and eggplant.

Farmers say all of the rain mixed with a warmer than usual fall created the some of the worst farming conditions they've ever seen. Produce markets are feeling the pressure as well.

"It's been a real real tough season," says Luis Henriquez, General Manager at Rorabeck's Plants and Produce in Lake Worth.

Henriquez says he does everything he can to keep prices low, but the year's smaller crop has pushed up demand.

The market isn't currently selling green beans because they're so scarce. Tomatoes, which would usually be sold for $0.99 a pound, are $1.49 a pound. And customers are paying $1 for two ears of corn -- a price they'd usually pay for about five.

Squash, zucchini and eggplant are still higher than usual, but Henriquez says they've come down about a $1 per pound in the past couple of weeks.

He says the good news is that as summer approaches, he expects the cost of produce to return to normal.

"Weather is changing so prices are changing," he says, "They are coming down every day."