Will produce prices rise due to freeze?

"It affects us all. Everybody from the consumer, to the supplier, to the grower." Local growers like VegOut! Farms have lost so much of their crop in this week's freeze.

Video Transcript

POOJA LODHIA: If you have bought a tomato at HEB recently, there's a very good chance that it came from right here. We're actually at VegOut! Farms here in Pattison, so about 12 miles northwest of [? Haiti. ?] And the big question out here is-- will any of this survive?

BRENDA KOCH: You see these plants? They're frozen. The leaves are gone.

POOJA LODHIA: We met Brenda Koch and her husband, Jeff, just after they got their power back. It has been four long days of cold and ice.

BRENDA KOCH: We have no choice. Now that we've spent so much money on propane to keep these crops going just to keep us in business right now, we're going to have to pass the cost on. I'm going to have to have an increase. And the consumer is going to see that, as well, because the grocery store has to stay in business, too.

POOJA LODHIA: None of this damaged produce will pass quality control inspections. And starting over isn't as easy or quick as it might seem.

BRENDA KOCH: I'm going to germinate that seed. And from that seed to the day I harvest my first tomato is almost four months-- 4 and 1/2 months.

POOJA LODHIA: And right now you're going to have to get all new tomato plants.

BRENDA KOCH: And what's the point? Because now summer's coming.

POOJA LODHIA: Think about it this way. Each tomato plant is worth about $125. Each row here has about 400 plants. And there are about 30 rows in just this one building. The total loss will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

BRENDA KOCH: I don't want to cut people loose. That's something we've been able not to have to do. But at this point, you know, you really do-- you have to think about yourself and what-- you have to pay for your own self to stay alive, your bills.

POOJA LODHIA: More plants will be destroyed before the week is over.

BRENDA KOCH: Until it really falls out and the sun comes out, we won't know how much damage we have. I still love it and this hurts. But I'll still be in here tomorrow. And I'll still be cleaning it out and we'll still be going because we love what we do.

POOJA LODHIA: And it's not just to all of these plants that are in trouble. It's also the livestock. We will have that part of this story coming up for you at 10:00. Pooja Lodhia, ABC 13, Eyewitness News.