Freeze Kills Southwest Fla. Vegetable Crops

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Consumers likely will be paying more for tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and other produce thanks to the recent cold snap in Florida.

Produce growers in the Sunshine State say the unusual string of below-freezing days has dealt a devastating blow to their winter crops, which is expected to drive up prices in the stores.

Southwest Florida is the leading grower of vegetables in the winter months, and growers say the recent cold snap has wiped out much of their crop. The state's citrus and strawberry growers also have taken a hit.

And because the cold has lingered, growers have been forced to delay spring planting, which also could affect the future market.

The full extent of the crop damage won't be known for several days or longer.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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