Lettuce fields in California’s Salinas Valley are displayed. A warmer-than-usual winter has brought about an earlier-than-usual harvest.
If you’re making a salad in the following couple of weeks, you might want to consider switching to arugula — lettuce might be as well expensive. And don’t also think about placing any caulifreduced in it.

You are watching: Why is lettuce so expensive right now

It’s all bereason of that wacky winter weather -- and despite what you could intend, the drought has nothing to carry out with it.

Instead, it was the heat temperatures in January and also February that pumelted some winter vegetables to height harvest means as well early on, leaving gaps in the supply chain now that are pushing up prices.

For example, red leaf lettuce that was marketing at wholesale for $12 to $15 a carton at this time last year is currently going for twice that a lot -- $25 to $30. Romaine hearts that were $18 to $20 wholesale last year are now $21 to $25.


So much iceberg lettuce has actually been holding steady, yet create pros say that we need to starting seeing a gap in that in the following week or so.

Caulifreduced is similarly high -- $24 to $28 a wholesale carton, compared via $12 to $13 just this February.

Every boost in the wholesale price does not produce a corresponding bump at retail bereason superindustries favor to store prices as secure as possible, even if it implies taking a loss sometimes.

But nearly invariably through boosts on this range, prices are going to go up.


It all comes down to a nasty trick Mother Nature played on farmers this winter.

Farmers plant in various areas in order to assure a stable supply of vegetables. In the instance of lettuce, they arrangement the winter harvest out of the Coachella Valley and Yuma, Ariz., to segue smoothly to the spring and summer harvests from miscellaneous areas in the Salinas Valley.

This means, they’ll be able to offer a reliable inventory at consistent prices, if the weather cooperates.

But this winter was anypoint yet cooperative, states Mark McBride of Coastline Family Farms, a significant vegetable grower based in the Salinas Valley.


“As soon as we put our best-lhelp plans on paper, Mvarious other Nature comes along,” he says. “When the weather is warmer than normal, the plants mature and come to harvest previously.”

The problem comes as soon as those fields are finished being harvested before the following ones are ready.

“All winter we’ve been 10 to 21 days ahead of schedule, and for the following few weeks, we’re going to have to pay the piper for that,” McBride says.

First, the warm winter weather was a blessing to shoppers, as the at an early stage Salinas and also late desert harvests collided, developing a glut of lettuce that drove prices so low that, McBride claims, some growers didn’t also harvest every one of their areas.


But currently comes the payago as the Salinas areas that were planted next in the rotation are not yet prepared.

McBride states that once this little hiccup functions its means with the supply chain in late May or beforehand June, things need to return to normal -- or as normal as farming gets anymethod.

See more: Describe The Goal Of Phylogenetic Systematics Evolutionary Classification

Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter

*

Russ Parsons is a previous Food writer and also columnist and also the previous editor of the Food area at the Los Angeles Times.


*

*