The Daily Feed: You (Don't) Say Tomato

If you’re used to slapping tomatoes on your sandwiches or your burgers, you may be in for some sticker shock the next time you hit the grocery store.

Major media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and NPR are reporting on a national tomato shortage brought on by unseasonably cold weather in Florida, the nation’s hub of off-season tomato production. Crops have been wiped out, farm workers have lost wages and employment hours, and major fast food outlets like Subway, Burger King, and Wendy’s have rationed what limited supplies they have. When tomatoes are available, prices are high, quality may not be optimal, and sourcing is likely from further afield, like Mexico.

Availability and affordability should improve come mid-April.

In the mean time, you may want to consider alternative condiments.  Some people (myself included) tend to wait for summer tomatoes anyway, preferring to enjoy them at their peak in the hotter months. In the winter, I slap cucumbers, romaine, pesto, caramelized onions, or pickles on my sandwiches and burgers. Granted, they’re not tomatoes, but sometimes no tomatoes are better than sad, expensive ones.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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