California’s Drought Withers Tomatoes, Pushing Grocery Prices Higher

A lack of rain and snow in central California and restricted water supplies from the Colorado River in the southernmost part of the state have withered summer crops like tomatoes and onions and threatened leafy greens grown in the winter.

That has added pressure to grocery prices, putting a squeeze on wallets with no end in sight.

The rise in food prices this year has helped drive U.S. inflation to its highest levels in 40 years. California’s drought conditions, on top of Hurricane Ian ravaging citrus and tomato crops in Florida, are likely to push food costs even higher. Drought in an area known as the U.S. salad bowl has not only impacted fresh produce, but also pantry staples like pasta sauce and premade dinners.