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The Price of: Green Bell Peppers

2 dollars for one bell pepper?
There were none available at the local farm stand and Trader Joes looked like there was an explosion of red bells with only "organic " green available at $1.50 each. They ended up being a bargain after seeing them at my major local supermarket at $1.99 each.
The red and yellow bells were $2.49 each...on sale!
What's going on?
Is this a seasonal thing? Is there everyday produce in your area that is excessively overpriced?

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  1. The uprisings in the Middle East is what is going on, and they are affecting the stock market as well. The price of produce is connected the cost of fuel to deliver it. Do you have a Bottom Dollar store in your neighbor hood? One has recently opened up in my neighborhood and I've stopped going for produce to the other chain supermarkets that have been here for decades.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChiliDude

      Also consider the recent freezes in Mexico and Texas. A lot of produce has gone up as a result. And, of course, gas prices too. Not only to deliver the product but also to harvest it, too.

    2. WOW, granted I have not shopped for a green pepper in a while as I usually use red. But when I do go to buy peppers I go to my local Asian market or "grocery outlet". Trader Joes is great, but I rarely buy produce from them due to the price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atochabsh

        Trader Joes is great, but I rarely buy produce from them due to the price.
        really? their prices on produce are usually better than other supermarkets. it's the *quality* that gives some people pause :)

      2. Do you think that produce grows outside weather issues (safe from them?) or transportation issues or higher costs? Or Environmental or political issues?

        What on the green earth made you think that produce was somehow (and let's not ask by whom) price controlled?

        Produce is seasonal. Very few things are "everyday". If produce appears in the market on a somewhat "everyday" basis; it is because it is being seasonally picked and transported to your fresh from someplace in the world.

        1. don't forget the unusually cold weather in most of the regions that produce green peppers at this time of year -- Florida, Texas, and the rest of the Deep South looked a lot like a Deep Freeze for a lot of the crucial winter vegetable growing period. Peppers won't survive a freeze (or even a frost)...so the peppers are gone, and the rules of supply and demand kick in.

          1. politics, fuel prices, climate...take your pick.

            the weather angle:

            1. I replace each green pepper in any recipe with a serrano chili pepper for better taste - before the price on green peppers got high. I simply do not eat green pepper anymore as like the tase of chili peppers more in my food. Slice chili as thin as possible with a sharp knife. Spread on a pizza or whatever, serrano slivers will step it up even if can hardly see. Discover your own ratio to heat / flavor. Start with a one to one ratio. We like spicy - so often eat two to one in dishes that can handle it (while not a recommended place to start for those who do not like spicy). Serrano will give way less cost and better flavor than using green pepper in your favorite dish. Use more or less chili depending on your family tastes. I usually remove the seeds and white membrane inside by scraping it out into the garbage with a spoon after cutting the chili in half. The seeds are supposedly bitter and white pith is supposedly hot.

              2 Replies
              1. re: smaki

                Bought a serrano today for 2 cents -- lots of flavor for (basically) free. I buy bell peppers (not green -- can't stand them) when they are in season locally and freeze.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Bought four serrano peppers yesterday for 7 cents total at a Local Fred Meyer store (part of Kroger for those not in the Western USA). Noticed the clerk mistakenly called them jalapeno when got home - wish would have bought more at $1.29 per pound as they do not weigh much. Cut the ends off on both sides, cut each in half, scraped seeds and the white pith out with a small spoon, then cut in as fine a strips as possible then did a very fine dice on the strips. The chunks were under 1/16" squares. Sware serrano tastes especially similar to green pepper to me in moderation to add flavor to most any dish where more mild peppers are specified (green, red, or yellow). Be careful to wash your hands well, possibly more than once, before touching around your eyes.

                  Have had my serrano seeds in the ground a while - they are coming up indoors. Once started commercial growers here plant in a hole cut in rows covered with black plastic - understand helps keep the roots warm. As well as provides weed control. Heated greenhouses work awesome, but not everyone has one to use. Anything to make the nights warmer, as find pepper plants like it and get hotter with warmer nights. Chili peppers have done surprisingly well here in Oregon, especially in warmer years, with over 50 serrano from a single plant. Find get good results most years in the garden, enough to eat all year. While they never cost much in the store if garden projects do not work out.

                  NOTE: the Fred Meyer visited yesterday (Cornelius Pass and Highway 26) had a recent remodel adding one of the best blue cheese and grated hard Italian cheese selections for decent prices that I've seen anywhere. Similar to the local Whole Foods but noticed better prices on specific items. Even enjoyed a couple free small samples. And Fred Meyer will sell very small chunks, when able to cut it off the wheel, so it only costs a couple dollars to try new cheeses.

              2. That price is common in my area....I only buy peppers when they're on sale and then only if they're under $1.00 each for the green...red and or orange/yellow peppers are normally out of my price range @ either 3.99 lb or sometimes one each red/yellow/orange in a bag for $5.00. If I need peppers, I look on the bargin veggie rack for a markdown (I got a bag of 3 green/2 red earlier this week for about $2.00) which I sliced up and put in the freezer) . Prices are going to be between 6-10% higher this year for groceries. I can't wait to plant my garden!

                1. It's mostly the deep freeze in Mexico a couple of weeks ago. At my local market, red bells jumped from $1/lb to $1 each (more like $4/lb) in a week.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    The jump in pepper prices, at least here in Miami, started at least a couple of months ago, before the mideast uprisings.
                    I've got a receipt from the local supermarket from January 30 showing red bell peppers at $3.99 a pound (and as I recall, green bell peppers were something like $2.49 a pound then).

                    It's also not just a reflection of fuel costs, as the prices of a number of other vegetables that are imported here haven't risen as precipitously (eg asparagus).

                    I think the deep freeze from the beginning of the year that goodhealthgourmet pointed to probably does a better job explaining the bell peppers price rise, or at least some of it.

                    (btw, glad you started this thread, cynamyn because I was thinking maybe time had just passed me by, it had been so long since I'd bought any, and that's why I'd been shocked by the prices)

                    1. re: racer x

                      I don't use peppers that much, but certainly I noticed it in lettuce a few weeks ago. Simple heads of iceberg lettuce were $0.99 regular in Toronto, and could be $0.79 on sale. Then, the next week - $2.49 per head. Same thing was cited - deep freeze in the Mexican/American growing regions.

                  2. Bought green for 0.50/lb and red for 0.99/lb, two days ago at Jon's in Los Angeles.

                    1. I'm in Florida where red and yellow bells are currently $3.99 / lb at Publix. I paid $4.97 for one of each a couple days ago. Ground sirloin was the same price.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Veggo


                        I'm buying three -- one each of red, green, and yellow, for about $3...mine are coming from Spain, which didn't freeze this year. (I find red, yellow, and orange peppers are inexplicably MUCH cheaper here in Europe even in the dead of winter)

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Red and yellow bells are $3.99 /lb today at both my local grocers in Florida, Publix and Sweet Bay, but between them at the latin roadside stand I just bought one of each for 95 cents apiece -and they are huge and perfect, half a pound each. Go figure.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            I seem to recall the Publix I used to shop at hovering usually in the $3.99/lb range. Once in a while they'd have them for less, and I'd buy a pile and freeze them.

                            And I agree -- the little roadside stand always trumps their price.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Just as an update here -- the hypermarche here had red peppers for 3,99 a kilo -- that works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of US$2.50 a pound (using $1.4/1 Euro as a conversion.)

                                1. re: paulj

                                  not sure at this point -- they're from Spain, so they could conceivably be outdoors-grown, but at this time of year are likely greenhouse.

                                  The local greenhouses won't be harvesting for another few weeks yet (the cuillettes don't open til 1 April)

                                  (I'm in the Paris region, so Spain isn't long-distance,and there's still frost in the mornings)

                      2. Get used to it, or do something about it.

                        This year we will see as much as a 6% increase in foods across the board...some even more. That's on top of the 4% increase that occurred last year.
                        Russia and the US had a HUGE corn crop and wheat failure due to unexpected cold weather in the last few months. Russia got so bad they even stopped exporting and kept it for themselves. Now, with such a large percentage of processed American products containing corn fillers, corn stabilizers, corn sugars, and the need for ethyl, both food and fuel prices will skyrocket. Also remember that the US feeds the majority of it's meat and dairy farms with corn feed for the animals. Since that is more expensive, milk and meat will go up as well.

                        Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini...just about anything that's not in season will be extremely expensive because it has to be shipped in from Chile,China, and other places around the world. since US southeast and Mexico took huge cold hits.

                        It's just a big cluster $%@#!* with no releif in sight.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Novelli

                          It's all that G-d D-mn Global warming... I mean freezing, I mean... I mean Halliburton.

                        2. Bought peppers yesterday in Boston, 1.49/lb for green, 1.99/lb for red, yellow..

                          1. I always thought red peppers were green peppers that were left on the plant to turn red. Correct me if I am wrong, please.
                            I bought peppers yesterday at our local produce supermarket "Best Yet" red peppers were $1.29 lb and green $1.99 lb. I prefer red to green.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Motosport

                              Bell peppers are the highest in pesticides, it's better to grow your own or buy organic. The bell peppers I buy are $2.50-3.99 each but that's okay because it's organic. Most people buy luxury cars and stuff...but they refuse to pay the fair price for organic real food.

                              Just look at the pesticides and pesticide residues on your bell peppers:
                              It's almost 2 pages long! Look at how many of them are known carcinogens, neurotoxins etc.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                The green being more expensive than the red is hilarious.

                                I pick up bell peppers from Costco in packs of 6. The downside is having to check through the plastic bag to make sure the quality is good (some were wrinkly). I don't recall the exact price, but since I don't recall being shocked, I'm guessing it was reasonable.

                                1. re: Motosport

                                  All peppers, at least all I've grown or have seen grown, start out green and turn some color as they ripen. There are a huge number of varieties out there. If you check out a seed catalog you'll find peppers that have been bred to taste good when picked green and others when they turn red, or orange, or yellow, or purple. Sometimes the green bells in stores have reddish areas where they got the most sun, so I guess that's what color they would be if left to ripen.

                                2. Can't wait for warmer weather to plant green peppers, zucchini and Japanese eggplant. Prices, even in CA, are through the roof and expected to get worse. Maybe I'll get some seedings started in the house this weekend.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: pine time

                                    My garden had an unintentional pepperpalooza last year! I haven't bought a pepper of any kind since then because I have them dried, frozen as cups, dice, and strips, pickled, made into spreads and frozen, roasted and frozen, and candied. I feel like the Bubba Gump of peppers. Can't say we've missed fresh peppers this winter because the candied, roasted and pickled ones are great in salads. I do look at the current prices in the store, experience sticker shock and walk away grateful for what we preserved.

                                    1. re: pine time

                                      Got the peppers, eggplant and green beans planted. Can't wait for the harvest. Maybe I could start a roadstand selling 'em this year??

                                    2. Large red, not tastless green, bell peppers at Costco, 6 for under $6.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: cstr

                                        I'm happy not to care for green bell peppers any more. For years they used to be a staple. My last ditch effort in liking them was to take a hint from Jacques Pepin wherein he said that he peeled them (in the raw state) to dilute some of the bitterness.

                                        Now and then when I see them at my local Farmers Market in the summer, I will pick up one or two and they taste better than the supermarket. Fresh poblanos seem to remain the same price here in VA all year 'round. $2.99#.

                                        1. re: Rella

                                          In Seattle Poblano prices jumped a bit with the Mexican freeze, but now they aren't much different than before. Could it be that most of the growers were further south (e.g. Oaxaca)? Or that most of the buyers are less tolerant of price gouging?

                                        2. re: cstr

                                          Same price at Costco here in Miami.

                                          But how much does each one weigh? If each weighs 1/4 or 1/3 of a pound, that's still a pretty high price per pound (and pricing them per pepper rather than per pound is a clever way of hiding the price per pound).

                                        3. I just adore bell peppers and am ready to fork over the money for them. I've held strong as $2 a pepper is outrageous but I need my fix!

                                          1. In Los Angeles I can get the red or orange for as low as 49 cents each recently (Sprouts). The green are not on my radar. I think the red and orange are now the big sellers due to the reputed health benefits in the general press. I also see alot of the mini sweet peppers which are a great value - usually a mix of yellow and red- very sweet. I can get a bag full at the 99 cents store for...99 cents.

                                            1. slightly OT, but i buy frozen chopped mixed bell peppers for cooking, unless the pepper is to be barely sauteed. they're a lot cheaper. trader joes and birdseye are good quality.

                                              and i'd guess that the freezes down south are THE primary reason for the rise in the bell pepper prices. of course, gas prices aren't helping any.

                                              i think publix is always high on produce, unless it is a seasonal sale (which can be very good prices, but nowhere as good a deal as the roadside vendors i've seen in florida).

                                              veggo, you paid WHAT? ;-)).

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                At a certain point you have to question people's sanity. My friend posted on FB that a head of cauliflower cost her $5+. I went to Safeway, where I know she shops, and saw that they were $2.99/lb. You have to wonder why people don't just substitute a cheaper vegetable. Right next to the cauliflower I saw cabbage was 99cents/lb.

                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                  that's the nice part about produce -- the things that are in season and grown locally are frequently also the cheapest...and the most flavorful.

                                                  When it's a king's ransom, it's either out of season, flown in from far away, or a little of both...and usually not that great.

                                                  1. re: pdxgastro

                                                    the weekly produce sales specials guide me on most of my produce purchases. they usually track the local seasonal produce, naturally.

                                                2. I saw green pepers at 5$ at lbs (In Montreal Canada, this March) Imagine stuffed peppers for 6 persons would be almost 20$.... Peppers only!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: joclouti

                                                    How many peppers per person? 2?

                                                  2. We have a Bottom Dollar store near us selling green bells for $0.78 each. If you buy the larger ones you're getting a good deal.

                                                    1. The recent spike in some vegetable prices was definitely weather related, see DiningDiva's posts in this topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765086

                                                      I don't buy the relatively flavorless bell pepper very often, but I've noticed that 'summer' squash and chile prices are pretty much back to normal around here. I think bells are less than $2/lb which doesn't sound too bad.

                                                      Recipe permitting, substitute a large poblano chile for a bell pepper!

                                                      1. I'm disable due to Parkinson. My doctor told me to start a garden to keep in shape and to keep busy.
                                                        A friend of mine helped me make a Hydroponic tower.
                                                        I grow 840 plants on 1 sq. foot area 6 foot high
                                                        I planted half it in Bell Pepper when I saw the prices of it going threw the rood.
                                                        My crop will be ready in a couple of weeks.
                                                        Looks like on the average I will be getting around 8 Bell Peppers per plant plan on selling them fast for 4 for $1.00 so I will make $2.00 per plant or around $1600 for my first crop.
                                                        I put my tower out in my front yard. People stop by and ask about it. I have already several large orders

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: altha2008

                                                          (Wow to the possible financial profit, but even more wow to the idea of being able to grow so many plants in such a confined space. Maybe I should try something like that.)