Domestic supplies of organic romaine lettuce are looking strong.
“We currently have a good amount of product with great quality. Our supply is comparable with the amounts we were moving this time last year,” says Jesus Rodriquez, director of harvest operations for organic grower Duncan Family Farms in Buckeye, Az.
Rodriquez notes that at this time of year, Duncan’s Romaine is coming out of Maricopa, Az. Meanwhile competition comes largely from the Imperial Valley as well as Yuma, Az.
Meanwhile demand for romaine is about to increase again. “Usually around this time of the year we see a shift and increase in demand,” says Rodriquez. “At the moment demand seems pretty level, with no increase and very similar to our leafy greens. It is very common for demand to start picking up right after Valentine’s Day. This is when we usually start to see warmer weather begin and this plays into increased consumption by the consumer.”
Demand has also looked stronger on related leafy greens after the romaine recalls that have happened over the last three years. “We definitely saw an increase on multi-leaf items and butter type lettuce,” says Rodriquez. Both of these items are not part of the romaine family and were used more often in salad blends to replace romaine.”
Looking ahead though, Rodriquez sees things moving along smoothly. “For the next few weeks we expect to have great product and consistent supply to meet contracted volumes,” he says.