California Drought To Raise Produce Prices In DelMarVa - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

California Drought To Raise Produce Prices In DelMarVa

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Hebron, MD - If you're a one-stop shopper, your grocery bills will likely go up, thanks to a three year drought in California. A head of lettuce imported from the West Coast is expected to rise 62-cents, to an average price of $2.44.  That's a 34% increase!

But, if you're willing to make an extra trip, you could save some money.  Local farmers markets are able to keep their prices lower than in groceries stores, but cutting out a middle man. And with 150 markets in Maryland, you're bound to find one near you.

Though the shore experienced a colder winter than normal, local farmers are still expecting a prosperous season.  Local farmer Charles Wright, owner of Wright's Market on Route 50 says, "The strawberries are going to be a little bit late, normally we would be picking them about now. They're going to be about 2 weeks late." But that should be his only setback.  "We actually started cutting a little tiny bit of asparagus this morning.  Hopefully it warms up next week and that will be coming on full force," he hopes.

The nine crops most likely to jump in price are lettuce, avocados, broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, melons, peppers, berries and corn.   Shelby Watson of the Maryland Department of Agriculture says, "out of that entire list, really what we don't grow in Maryland are the avocados and the table grapes."

El Nino is forecasted to hit the West Coast this summer.  The extra rain could make this price hike only a temporary problem. And in addition, California will be receiving an increase in water allotments due to recent rain and now, according to the associated press.  The State Water Project will supply 29 public agencies with water, to help irrigate nearly a million acres of farmland.

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