Salad prices are skyrocketing

A deep freeze in the areas that supply 90% of the nation's winter lettuce is sending vegetable prices soaring. A crate of romaine is topping $35.

By Kim Peterson Feb 4, 2013 5:01PM
The price of a salad is soaring after a round of freezing temperatures at lettuce farms in California and Arizona.

Farms are selling crates of lettuce at sky-high prices, Bloomberg reports. Two counties in the country produce 90% of the lettuce supply in the winter months, and when farms there hike prices, just about all parts of the U.S. feel the impact.
Now, a crate of iceberg lettuce containing 24 heads is selling for about $27. That's up from the $6 range just one month earlier. A crate of 24 romaine heads is even more expensive, soaring to $33 to $36 at the end of last month from about $7 a month earlier, reports The Packer.Image: Restaurant ( Thinkstock Images/Jupiterimages)

Farmers say that the lettuce pipeline is empty, with nothing on the shelves in warehouses. The region saw as many as 14 straight days of frost in the early morning. "The crop is pretty beat up and the industry is dealing with down yields," a manager at a lettuce grower told The Packer.

The price increase is putting restaurants in a bind. One restaurant chef in Syracuse, N.Y., told CNYcentral that the price of asparagus has more than doubled. "Because we have that on our menu, it's not like we can just re-print all our menus and stop serving it," he added. "We can't charge $16 for a salad, it's unreal."

Some grocery stores have posted signs warning shoppers about higher prices for lettuce and other vegetables. Consumers have plenty to say on social media about what they're experiencing. "I'd be way more tempted to eat healthy if a salad wasn't 10 times the price of a burger," lamented one Twitter user. "Lettuce prices are ridiculous here," said another.

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Tags: Food
Feb 4, 2013 6:28PM
No big deal' every product in America has went up up up and anything that hasn't will go up as soon as they can invent an excuse. Everything goes up except wages and they wonderr why consumers aren't spending .
Feb 4, 2013 6:20PM
Get used to it. Going forward, prices are going to go up on everything faster than we are accustomed to. You can thank the Fed. for this. Just look at he recent hike in eggs, milk, butter, Gasoline, meat, grains, and vegetables in general. TV's and computers are about the only things going down. Don't worry, the government will keep lying about the CPI to screw the old folks out of their cost of living increase on Social Security. 
Feb 5, 2013 2:27AM
That's to be expected since the government pays farmers not to plant crops so there won't be a surplus that might lower the prices. They seem to subsidize everything but the working man/woman. Give the refiners more money for corn for ethanol so the price for  beef, poultry, & products at the store  will increase due to the shortage of  consumer corn.  Kind of reminds me of the 70's oil shortage. Storage tanks full, lots of high price gas but no cheap gas around.. Our government at work again.
Feb 5, 2013 6:04AM
This story made me think of when I started feeling the pinch economically and it has been completely unrelated to the stock market. People keep using it as a huge indicator but I personally have felt the pinch whether the stock market is 7000 or 14,000. Maybe stories like this shows that someone is figuring out that it is economics like this, our grocery bills doubling or tripling in an 8 year span, and many others like it that is an indicator as to why working America is suffering.
Feb 5, 2013 11:07AM
Having your own garden and a small green house is the only way to go, year round  fresh vegetables, no pesticides, walk into the kitchen and wash, stuff them into the blender or juicer, or side dish them for dinner. Keeps you immune from the marketplace !
Feb 4, 2013 8:19PM
Prices will come down as soon as the weather breaks. This happens every 2-3 years when there is a freeze. Leafy veggies do not handle the cold at all so when a freeze hits it destroys the crop. Besides you cannot freeze leafy stuff like chicken beef or pork. But still be aware that the price of food will soon go up at a steady clip from now on.
Feb 4, 2013 8:50PM
I just farted... Raise the price of spanish rice.
Feb 4, 2013 9:57PM

35 bucks for a crate of Romaine?  Try 40 bucks for something halfway good.


Feb 5, 2013 11:21AM
But But.... What about the cheap lettuce from China ?
Feb 5, 2013 12:34PM
Feb 5, 2013 11:23AM
I usually like to get kissed before I get screwed.
Feb 4, 2013 6:24PM

All things considering the prices for greens are extremely cheap in the US.  It's almost humorous when you hear people say they can't afford greens and go out and by beef, pork and poultry.  Take a look at the price you pay for a bi-pass surgery, heart disease, diabetes and all the complications that go with them. We can’t afford to not eat well!


Anyone with health problems might be interested in some alternative ideas to good health (DVD): "Healing Cancer From Inside Out - 2nd Edition", and "reversing diabetes in 30 days".  Very good info, and it’s stuff everyone should be familiar with.  Find out what truly good health is all about; it does not take long to see real benefits in health and the way you feel!

Feb 5, 2013 3:31PM

So stop eating rabbit food. End of story.

Feb 5, 2013 2:36PM

Alot of salads that go to restaurant are made in a building.

In any case its still just a salad, it is overpriced in the first place anyways.

Feb 5, 2013 12:35PM
im not a rabbitt anyway,gemme a spud and steak
Feb 6, 2013 2:26PM

at $40/ carton- adding freight to deliver- lettuce would cost $1.91 per head to the distributor-

Today the lettuce market is less than $20 ($1.08 per head)

Romaine remains higher $35/ carton ($1.75 per head).

These crops have no governments subsidies and at $6/ per carton the grower is selling below cost.

Most product sold to restaurants is fixed price- Romaine high price was $1.75 per pound- normal is $1.25. Lettuce is $0.70 normal and $0.80 high price.

Fresh produce is the truest form of supply and demand since the inventories cannot be stock-piled for any length of time.

Just the facts


Feb 5, 2013 3:09PM

Isn't that why we have  seen more and more advertizing for produce from CHILE.....they've increased 10xs in recent weeks letting us know that they are in their summer months.   Oh, right....not supposed to buy it cuz it isn't from a US farmer. 

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