CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Holidays are right around the corner, which means a higher demand for produce, such as pumpkins to carve and fruits and vegetables to eat.

But prices of produce have been on the rise lately, not just from inflation but other factors as well.

Kent Leonhardt, The Commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, expanded on why produce prices have been increasing.  

“Part of it is the cost of transportation. You know its why, you know, we grow a lot of produce outside of the state of West Virginia and we import it here, and transportation costs have to be added to that. It’s why since day 1, I’ve been promoting that we have to shorten that distance between where our food is grown and where it is consumed,” said Commissioner Leonhardt.  

The Commissioner also added that we should be mindful when buying and using fresh produce since time has passed by the time it gets to the consumer.

“It’s good health for the individual because the food is fresher, the nutrients are more stable and healthier. It’s also good for our state’s economy because those dollars turn within the state of West Virginia, and with the new techniques, precision agriculture and the high tunnels that extend the growing season. It’s also good for the environment, so there’s no other industry in West Virginia that can claim good health for the citizen, the economy, and the environment all at the same time, so what we have to do is just shorten that chain and support your West Virginia farmer,” added the Commissioner, when talking about the benefits of growing food within the state to keep the prices down.

For more information, you can visit their Facebook page at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture or their website at https://agriculture.wv.gov/.