Tomato prices have skyrocketed because record-low temperatures wiped out about 70 percent of Florida's tomato crop in January, forcing local restaurant owners to pay more or use less.
Some fast-food restaurants have put up signs telling customers that tomatoes will only be served by request and if available.
Anne Sergent, co-owner of Wren Bistro Bar and Market in Beaufort, said much of her produce -- onions, bell peppers and tomatoes -- costs more these days.
"The prices are definitely the highest that we've seen in a decade," Sergent said. "It's just truly a supply and demand issue."
Brendan Reilley, managing partner of Aunt Chiladas Easy Street Café on Hilton Head Island, said the Mexican restaurant plows through about 40 pounds of tomatoes a day for its salsa, pico de gallo and other recipes.
Reilley said that at one point, the restaurant's buyers were paying $80 per case, compared to normal rates of $20 per case.
"The price is extremely high," he said. "We use a ton of tomatoes. We've had to go to a premium canned tomato for a lot of our recipes."
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