The economy isn’t looking good anywhere, but tomato growers are slowly getting back in the produce game after the several months-long salmonella scare earlier this year, according to an article in the Bradenton Herald in Florida.
Lower prices are encouraging consumers to come back to tomatoes, which is great for tomato growers, but now they have even more concerns, including food safety and new regulations mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) such as restrictions on soil fumigants that combat pests, diseases, and pathogens.
Tomato growers must also have a buffer zone between treated fields and home and schools.
How low are the prices going? Three weeks ago a box of tomatoes cost $18 and now goes for between $6 and $8.
But even these low prices aren’t doing enough to get the tomato industry competitive again. Some tomato growers like Ed Angrisani of Taylor & Fulton, thinks even supply is down anywhere from 20 percent to 25 percent from what it was before the salmonella scare, mostly because the demand just isn’t there.
“In the state of Florida right now, our supply is slightly less than last year. We just don’t have the demand we had before, and I don’t think we’ll get that back,” Angrisani said.
I’m curious, tomato lovers: have you been buying fewer tomatoes?