(Nov. 18) Pepper and bean prices skyrocketed the third week of November thanks to light supplies from hurricane-wrecked Florida, but shippers don’t expect the increase to continue.

“We normally don’t sell peppers on the East Coast,” said Mike Way, salesman at Prime Time International LLC, Coachella, Calif. “Green bean prices always get better during the holiday season, but this year it’s much better because of the situation in Florida.”

On Nov. 16, 1 and 1/9 bushel cartons of green beans were mostly $28.85-28.95, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also, 1 and 1/9 bushel cartons of jumbo and extra large green peppers were mostly $26.85-28.85, large were $22.85-24.85, mediums were $18.85, and small were mostly $12.85.

Weather conditions in California have affected yields this year, said Dick Keber, partner in Keber Distributing Inc., Thermal, Calif.

“We were hit by rain and hail about a month ago,” he said Nov 17. “We’re not getting the yields we normally get. Some people even lost acreage. We didn’t lose any, but we’re only getting about 600 cartons to the acre. We normally get 1,000 to 1,100.”

Shippers report good quality, however.

Price may be high this year, but they still pale in comparison to what California shippers got last year, Keber said.

“Prices were higher last year because there was total devastation in Florida,” he said. “They’re around $25 or $30 this year and that’s good. But last year, peppers prices were about $40.”

Florida green beans will also miss the Thanksgiving market, thanks to Hurricane Wilma, said Emilio Mirzakhani, general manager of the Homestead Pole Bean Cooperative Inc.

The Florida bean harvest started Nov. 10, but they’re only loading 10% to 20% of the normal pre-holiday orders. Last season, there were few beans available, but prices pushed demand to the point chain stores were canceling orders. This season, there still is demand.

The cooperative’s growers replanted their crops, which should be ready for harvest by Dec. 10, along with squash and sweet corn.