US(CA): Heat leads to strong market for Romaine lettuce

Unusually warm conditions along California's Central Coast have caused problems for lettuce production and reduced yields on several lettuce varieties. Demand for Romaine has been strong, and with quality issues dogging production, prices have been robust.

“The market for Romaine, especially for Romaine hearts, has been up, and that's probably tied to the fact that supplies are down a little bit,” said Michael Boggiatto of Boggiatto Produce. “We've had really warm days and evenings, and we don't plant varieties for the kinds of temperatures we're seeing. There are a lot of seed heads in the field and we have to leave a lot of product out there because it's bolted.” They've also had to move about two to three weeks ahead of schedule because of the weather.

“Everything is pushed ahead, so we're eventually going to hit a wall and run out of product,” said Boggiatto. “There are areas in Arizona that got beat up by a storm and it looks like the Imperial Valley will be short, so there are going to be short supplies during the transition from the Central Coast to those areas.” On October 29, prices for a carton of Romaine lettuce from Oxnard were between $16.75 and $18.95, and prices for a carton from Salinas were between $18.45 and $22.56. Prices for a three-count package of Romaine hearts from Santa Maria were between $16.45 and $20.25.

“We're going to be short at the end of our deal and the Imperial Valley will be short at the beginning of theirs,” said Boggiatto. “I think prices will get higher than what they are now because there's a lot of demand and there won't be a lot of product.”

For more information:
Michael Boggiatto
Boggiatto Produce
+1 831 424 8952

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