Temperatures were climbing back toward the 70s and the price of produce also was expected to go up because of damage from a record-breaking cold snap.

"I had a fellow with 500 acres of cucumbers and peppers in south Hillsborough (County) call me this morning to tell me that they're completely gone," said Tom Burgin, a produce broker in Plant City.At the wholesale level, Burgin said, a bushel of peppers that cost $7 to $8 last week probably will cost him $25 to $30 and will come from Mexico or the West.

Florida's produce industry is estimated at more than $1.1 billion annually, compared with the $1.3 billion-a-year citrus industry that appeared to have suffered only minimal damage from the cold wave that arrived Thursday.