The Netherlands is sole supplier

"Rhubarb prices in US "astronomical" at this time of year"

Rhubarb supplies to the US are extremely limited at this time of year. Almost the entirety of the US supply is coming from Holland, where the rhubarb is grown in hothouses. As a result, prices are very high and suppliers say that prices won't ease until domestic supply resumes in early Spring.

"Holland is about the only place we can source rhubarb at this time of year," said Patrick Ahern, of Baldor Specialty Food, in New York. "There's nothing else around and prices are astronomical. We market 13.2lb boxes and they average at $4 per lb, whereas typically, when we have greater supply, prices are $1.50 per lb. However, we don't consider it as a shortage as this is quite typical for the time of year. Prices will come down when domestic supplies resume out of Washington and Oregon in early Spring. Some farmers that grow rhubarb in hothouses will start earlier but until then, the only supply is either from Holland or frozen."

Demand slow as prices remain high
While prices remain high for rhubarb, some customers are staying away and replacing it with other ingredients until supplies return in greater numbers. In the meantime, suppliers will continue to deliver stock from Holland.

"Demand is not very high at the moment due to the high prices," continued Ahern. "A lot of restaurants typically take it off their menus during Winter and retail customers replace it with other ingredients. It's not a mainstay item in the US as it is in Europe where people make traditional dishes such as rhubarb pies. Even there, it is more of a Spring item. In Holland, growers use hothouses to grow it until Spring when some field stock adds to the supply. Baldor Food air-freights the rhubarb in and we generally receive it in 2 days once an order is placed. The rhubarb arrives in clean stalks with leaves removed, and in 13.2lb boxes."

For more information: 
Patrick Ahern
Baldor Specialty Food
Tel: +1 (718) 860-9100

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