NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Unseasonable weather in key produce-growing states is driving lettuce prices higher.
Bloomberg Business reports that iceberg lettuce prices have more than quadrupled in the last month due to freezing temperatures in California and Arizona. The cost has gone from $6 dollars per crate to $27. Experts say the shortage in supply could mean you'll find lower-quality vegetables at the store.
But the price hike won't only affect consumers shopping at the supermarket, but also businesses that rely on the leafy green vegetable as an ingredient.
Gary Golec, owner of Serio's Market in Northampton, has a deli that sells made-to-order sandwiches. Golec says they go through about case of lettuce each day. He told 22News that yo-yoing prices are a yearly trend, but they won't reduce quality due to the shortage.
"If it's too hot, the prices go up. If it's too wet, the prices on certain things go up. Whatever it costs, you figure out a margin and adjust the retail price accordingly in the deli. We're not going to skimp on putting lettuce on a sandwich because it's a little more expensive," Golec said.
California growers produce half of the nation's lettuce. In winter months that number goes up to 90%.