Chile Quake Could Affect U.S. Produce Prices

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The earthquake in Chile could mean higher produce prices in the U.S.

Most of the grapes, peaches and avocados on store shelves right now come from Chile.

Grapes are the country's biggest export this time of year. They are harvested between mid-February through the end of March.

"I think if we wanted to focus on one thing in the central valley, it would be the table grape issue," said Mickey Paggi with Fresno State's Agri Business Center. "It is big...It's about 64 percent in terms of value, and this is a period where it's a really active market."

"There's going to be some hiccups," said Mike Burchett, owner of MB Fresh International in Visalia, Calif. "Anytime there's a gap in supply, prices will fluctuate, and I can see that happening right now."

There could be major damage to the country's shipping ports. That means a gap in shipments could bring produce shortages and increased prices in coming weeks.

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