11-21-05 - Hurricanes are leaving a bitter taste as sugar prices soar.
The holidays are the busiest time of the year for local bakeries, and with the price gouge, their kitchens are taking the heat.
Hurricane waters wiped out towns along the gulf coast, and left thousands of acres of sugar cane drenched in saltwater.
The loss of Louisiana's sugarcane crop sent a ripple effect through the sugar industry making it hard on local bakeries. They have no choice but to pay the high prices.
"Production is just so way down that its the availability is as bad as the cost for everything," Kathleen Tuggle of Kathleen's Kitchen said. "Its making us have less profit."
The US Department of Agriculture reports that the price of sugar has nearly doubled since August from 28-cents a pound to more than 40-cents a pound today.
But price is not the only factor concerning these small bakers and confectioners. Another problem is availability.
"It's making it a bit harder because when we order sometimes we don't get the sugars," Tuggle said. "I just keep ordering more than I actually need in hopes I'll have enough to get me through."
A day without sugar in a sweet shop could give anyone a stomach ache.
Ray Fontain is the owner of Daylight Donuts. In business for 45 years, he has yet to deal with the sugar shortages due to the fact that he has been with the same small distributing company since the beginning.
Lucky for him, he's not feeling the heat that many others are.
"We're having to cut corners where we can but not on our quality," Tuggle said. "We're still doing what we've always done cause we appreciate our customer base."
With the upcoming holidays, Tuggle won't let this make her Thanksgiving and Christmas sales bitter-sweet. She plans to leave her prices the way they have always been.