Bad News: Tomatoes Are Going to Get a Lot More Expensive
Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits in the United States. (That's right, we said fruit.) But few shoppers realize where these juicy red beauties originate. The truth is, unless you grow yours in your backyard, there's a good chance the tomatoes you eat every day were grown South of the border.
According to Modern Farmer, more than 70% of all tomatoes sold in the U.S. actually come from our neighbors in Mexico. And thanks to the recent termination of an obscure trade law, they're about to get a lot more expensive. That is, until both sides manage to come to an agreement.
Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced the end of the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico. This means the U.S. will impose a 17.5% tariff on imported Mexican tomatoes, a move that experts say may lead to shortages and price hikes, USA Today reports. In case you needed another reason to support your local farmers, some estimates predict that consumers could eventually pay 40% to 85% more for vine-ripe and other fresh tomatoes from Mexico.
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Modern Farmer notes that the dispute could potentially benefit warm-weather growers in Florida and California, who will no longer have to compete with Mexico for winter sales. And the fact that we're approaching summer, when tomatoes flourish across the country, means that tomato prices probably won't noticeably change for a while.
But in the meantime, with no resolution in sight, you might want to consider starting to grow your own tomatoes, and at the very least, hitting up your local farmer's market.