MIAMI, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Last fall's tomato shortage has turned into such a glut that south Florida growers are letting ripened crops rot in the field.
The shortage caused by the hurricanes that hit Florida in August and September, along with other factors, abated by Thanksgiving.
But growers complain supermarkets have been keeping prices artificially high, driving away consumers, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
In the last two weeks, the state's 65 commercial tomato producers have let 60 million pounds die in the field because they couldn't sell them, said Florida Farmers, a growers' coalition.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson toured tomato fields near Homestead, Fla., Tuesday.
"I was shocked to see acre upon acre of unharvested tomatoes," Bronson said. "The perception of a tomato shortage still remains and restaurants aren't placing orders and our growers are facing disaster because they can't sell their crop."
Florida farmers produce 80 percent of the nation's domestically grown vegetables during the winter months.