Frigid Fla. winter is bad news for tomato lovers

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tomato lovers could soon be out of luck as a frigid Florida winter takes a toll on the state's tomato crop.

Florida is the only U.S. state that produces large amounts of tomatoes in the winter, and growers lost about 70 percent of their crop during a prolonged cold snap.

That means restaurant owners are paying a lot more. The average wholesale price for a 25-pound box is $30, up from $6.50 last year.

In Chicago, where chopped tomatoes come standard on hot dogs, Murphy's Red Hots Owner Bill Murphy admits he's being more careful with them.

He says the shop stills owes it to customers to get tomatoes on the hot dogs, but cooks are trying to get an extra piece out of every tomato if they can.

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