No Tomatoes at Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants? Mexico Freeze Causes U.S. Veggie Shortage

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Veggie lovers, take note: You may be eating much less colorful (and even more expensive) salads in coming months.

Below-normal temperatures in Mexico, Florida and Texas earlier this year caused a deep freeze that’s negatively affecting the U.S. supply of many high-demand vegetables, such as delicious tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers. The veggie drought, which is expected to last until early April, is putting a major strain on the market, causing prices to rise and restaurants and grocers to scramble for other sources of these popular foods.

For instance, a Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in Waukegan, Ill., posted a sign Saturday saying, “Mother Nature Strikes Again,” and listed the veggies that are currently not being offered at the salad bar. Some of the chain’s locations are adding choices such as edamame, tofu and feta cheese to replenish items they’re currently missing.

(More on TIME.com: See if eating organic food is really better for you)

Because of the inflated prices (the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange announced that prices for a 25-pound box of tomatoes has doubled in the past week), some stores and restaurants have decided to cut back on serving these vegetables altogether instead of purchasing them at higher prices and passing the cost along to customers. Fast-food chain Wendy’s announced Thursday that until the shortage is relieved, their sandwiches will be served with tomatoes upon request only.

NewsFeed hopes the tomatoes and other veggies come back to us soon — not so we can add them to our salad, but instead enjoy them on our favorite slice of pizza.

(More on NewsFeed: See how Neanderthals ate their veggies)

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