A cold snap in California and Mexico is expected to push the prices up on fruits and veggies as the unseasonable conditions take a toll on the quality and quantity of the produce being harvested by farmers.

Temperatures have dipped below the freezing mark over the past couple of weeks damaging many crops.

Leafy greens, spinach, zucchini, cucumbers and broccoli are among the items that are now in short supply.

"It is a little bit frustrating. Some days I’ll come in and there's a whole abundant of different fruits and vegetables and other days I come in and it's a bit scarce and that seems to last for a while," said consumer Gibran Shah.

There could also be an increase in the price of some citrus fruits as freezing temperatures put harvests in jeopardy.

According to some estimates, one-quarter of the region's orange varieties have already been affected.

Local grocery retailers are also frustrated by the lack of supply.

Kevin Burbank is the produce manager at spud.ca, a home delivery service,  and he says this is the worst shortage he has seen in the last 10 years.

"Broccoli has literally doubled or tripled in price in the last month so we're trying to absorb some of that but it depends how long this goes for before our prices really have to go up to accommodate this," said Burbank.

Forecasters are predicting a warm up for the southern states and Mexico and produce experts say some crops will likely recover but others will have to be replanted which will delay delivery to stores for several weeks.

In January 2007, California experienced a severe cold spell with temperatures in some regions dropping below freezing for four consecutive nights. That resulted in roughly US$77 million in losses to the Imperial Valley alone, according to reports. Across California, losses reached $1.32 billion.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association said it expects a much less severe impact this time around, and said price increases are likely to be short lived.

(With files from ctvnews.ca)