Lettuce Shortage Hits Bay Area Grocery Stores

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Leafy greens are in short supply in some Bay Area grocery stores. Shoppers who are a big fans of salads, BLTs, or anything avocado are not going to be a fan of the latest news on fresh vegetable prices.

“Prices right here right now, you are going to start seeing sticker shock. More than twice the price as what you should be seeing this time of year,” said produce expert Michael Marks.

And we are talking a lot of different vegetables.

“Iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce, red leaf…you name a row crop vegetable and it’s been hard hit,” he said.

Local restaurants may take the hardest hit as they could see the price of their fresh veggies even double.

“You may not see the prices increase, but they are going to take it in their profits because you know lettuce and tomatoes that’s a short term crop and they can’t just go up and down with their prices when the prices fluctuate like that,” said Marks.

The culprit? The wet weather.

“It is all because of the rain. The rain not last week, not last month, but the rain three months ago,” said Marks. “Three months ago we should have been planting crops that we should be harvesting now. We can’t harvest those crops because they weren’t planted.”

Not only may consumers end up buying these foods for twice the price, what they are getting may not even be all that good.

“When you see really low prices, a farmer out there is going to put any lettuce they see into that box, even if it just looks like a head of lettuce it’s going in the box,” said marks. “So you see really low quality when you see these really high prices.”

Other veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are also scarce right now. Food suppliers say the market should start to stabilize within a few weeks, as the weather warms up.

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