Produce Prices May Rise After Wet Spring

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COLUMBIA - Produce prices from at least one local farmer will rise this summer and next fall after the wet spring season led to fewer crops being planted and fewer surviving the spring.

Kenny Duzan, a local grower who sells to the Columbia Farmers Market, said prices on produce ranging from tomatoes to onions could go up by as much 20 percent.

At Red and Moe pizzeria in Columbia owner Tom Rippeto says they haven't noticed price increases yet, but anticipate this summer they will see a change.

Red and Moe's Manager Trey Quinlan says the restaurant only buys their produce locally, and will continue to do so, even if prices go up.

"We're being very selective. We're trying to encourage good growing practices and help out the farmers that are specifically organic and are doing better things for the environment," Quinlan said.

Duzan said he lost his entire spinach crop this spring, about five to six hundred pounds, due to rain and cooler temperatures. He said this cost him thousands of dollars.

Duzan said he expects many other farmers will be forced to raise prices as well. He predicts  demand will still be high but there won't be as many crops due to the spring weather.