Florida's farmers did their part. Are you doing yours?
An open letter to grocery wholesalers, retailers
and food service establishments
For the past three months, Florida's farmers have been digging out from the devastation caused by Hurricane Wilma. This storm — one of the most costly and destructive storms in recent history — dealt a severe blow to our state's agricultural community.
In the midst of this damage, Florida's farmers made a promise to consumers: They would rebuild and replant, and fresh Florida fruits and vegetables would soon be back on store shelves. Florida's farmers were true to their word. They overcame staggering odds to get back on their feet and are now bringing in the crops that were promised.
But, something happened while our farmers were down and out.
The price of tomatoes skyrocketed due to a temporary limited supply. Strangely, now that the supply of tomatoes is increasing and the quality improving, the retail price isn't falling accordingly. Some food service establishments that removed tomatoes from their menu items either haven't returned them or still require patrons to specifically ask for them.
Consumers are curious about continued high prices and hearsay about a tomato shortage. They're asking me — and now, I'm asking you. Have you reviewed the current supply, quality and pricing of Florida tomatoes? Our farmers did their part. They need you to do yours.
Charles H. Bronson
Commissioner of Agriculture