Queensland weather sends vegie prices soaring

SOME vegetables cost almost 10 times what they did at the same time last year, the owner of a Bendigo wholesale fruit and vegetable seller says.

Michael Robertson from JL King and The Cabbage Patch said frost and unseasonal wet weather in Queensland had caused some vegetables, such as capsicums, zucchini and beans, to hit record prices.

He said Victorian-produced vegetables such as cauliflowers, broccoli and pumpkins had also been in short supply.

The business owner estimated the price of pumpkins had risen 1000 per cent over the past year and a box of tomatoes that would have cost $20 a year ago would now cost $85.

“It has been very ordinary,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of things in short supply, like zucchinis. Lettuces and beans were extremely short, too.

“It’s been a tough year and it affects everyone, from retail stores to hotels who are trying to produce the meals at the same cost.”

Masons of Bendigo waiter Julian Ross said vegetable shortages had affected the business over the winter.

“It has affected the kitchen somewhat in the produce we buy,” he said.

“The price of limes has gone up so we haven’t used them and eggplants have also been a bit hard to source. 

“Most of the time we wear costs, but sometimes we take it off the menu.”

Carlo Barri from La Piazza Wine Bar and Restaurant agreed.

“Vegies aren’t cheap. Once upon a time they were, but certainly not these days,” he said. 

“Restaurants can’t just put their prices up or no one would come in, so you just have to wear it.” 

Fortunately, Mr Robertson said things should improve heading into summer.

“We’ve seen improvement over the past seven days and with the weather finally improving in Queensland, we expect things to pick up over the next week,” he said.

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