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End Of California Drought Doesn't Bring Relief For Produce Prices

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — From "farmageddon" to good fortune.

Five years after the drought, farmers across California's Central Valley say produce is finally plentiful, but that doesn't mean better prices.

When the water ran out, farmers let go of their land. But after five years of California's devastating drought, farmers markets are ripe for business.

"The quality is exceptional this year," said Missy Gotelli of Gotelli Farms.

And fans know it. But perfection doesn't come cheap. Alex Moreno at JJ Farms charges $5 a pound for cherries at local markets. $8 in the Bay Area! And prices are only going up he says, to make up for the drought years.

"Because the water was expensive for us farmers," he said.

"I don't know they said the same year about charging more for the wet year," said a shopper.

Farmers still blame higher, post-drought prices on flooded farms.

"The price of lemons especially and tomatoes," said one shopper.

So when will consumers catch a break? When farmers catch up with planting crops after harvests were disrupted by too much water this winter.

"Water could be a farmer's best friend or worst enemy," said produce expert Michael Marks.

Marks says prices are on an evergreen rollercoaster, and it'll last all summer.

But there is sweeter news, at the honey stand.

"Because of the drought, we weren't able to produce our black button sage but this year with the increased rain, and the super bloom, these fields are blooming with sage again," said Ms. Zamora at the honey stand.

It's a new bloom for farmers, and foodies, filling their baskets, regardless of the price.

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