2/4/2013 9:01 PM ET|
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.
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.
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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