JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- January's freezing temperatures on the West Coast are warming in the new month, but effects of the unusual cold snap can still be felt in the Sunshine State.
The prices of produce across the board began to rise two weeks ago, as products suffered and reports of a shortage began. While the cost of some items is beginning to stabilize, leafy greens and lettuce continue to rise.
"We were paying $12 a case two weeks ago," says Marshall Sherman, Director of Operations for The Garden produce wholesale company. "Now we're paying between $30 to $35 a for that same product."
The increase isn't reflected on most local store shelves just yet.
"I'm just trying to keep my prices where my customers can afford it," says Karen Brown, Manager of Terry's Country Store in Jacksonville Beach.
Brown orders produce twice a week from The Garden and says the two companies are working together to absorb most of the cost.
"They'll give me a heads up if something is going up so maybe I can buy it that Friday instead of waiting until the next Monday when it's going up."
That's only if it's in stock, however. Sherman says some trucks are showing up empty.
"We were expecting over 200 cases of spring mix today from one of our trucks in California. We were shipped zero."
The Garden is already absorbing 8 - 10 percent of their typical profit these days, hoping to maintain their customer base in the future.
"We're looking for a long term relationship with our customers so we're trying to absorb as much of that as possible."
So far, their efforts are working, proved by the prices customers are paying at local stores. But the next batch of crops isn't expected to be here for another three to four weeks, and until then, Brown will try to hang on.
"Basically I'm going to try to cut my costs as low as I can for my customers," says Brown, "so we can still make a little bit of a profit to pay the bills."