Lettuce prices are likely to rise next month and could stay high into the summer, agriculture experts say, as flooding in a key California farming area becomes the latest example of extreme weather's effect on the food chain. The Salinas Valley, where a vast amount of lettuce and other produce eaten in North America is grown every year, has seen severe rain and storms since the beginning of the year, said John Bishop, national buyer for produce distributor Fresh Start Foods.
Bishop said all that extra water has flooded fields and delayed planting, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop damage. "It's been very concerning," he said.
The industry has recently seen more interest in year-round production in Canada, too, as climate change makes issues like extreme weather and drought more prevalent, said Sylvain Charlebois, a Dalhousie University professor, and director of the school's Agri-Food Analytics Lab. Bishop anticipates the push to grow more produce in Canada will continue.
"Where we get our food from and how it gets to us all contributes to the cost of what we're buying. So it only makes sense to find ways to be able to produce products on a local basis," he said.