Lettuce shortage impacting southern Arizona restaurants

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 8:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Another shortage you’ve probably heard about: the lettuce shortage. Consumers may not be feeling the impact at the grocery store yet, but for restaurants it’s already happening.

Stephanie Corda with distribution company Peddler’s Son says this lettuce shortage may go on for awhile. “It’s never been this lengthy. There’s always going to be a delay and there’s always going to be shortages. There’s always going to be some sort of instance. But, it’s never been for this long of a time,” she said.

This shortage is impacting all kinds of lettuce from iceberg to romaine. Corda added that she believes this may last until January.

To break it down, Corda said romaine is usually about $5,000 an acre. Now, an acre is going anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. People like Jason McCarty at the Eclectic Café are paying the price.

“Costs have skyrocketed. It’s just one thing after another. It’s tough. We’re already operating on very slim margins because of how much everything costs between labor and food. And then with this it makes the margins much slimmer,” he said.

McCarty explained that the “disease wiped out the Salinas crops and this is the time of year where they moved the Salinas crops to Yuma because of the weather.”

Corda said distributers are still playing catch up from this set back. “Unfortunately, it’s going to be an upward battle. We have growers and shippers starting next week harvesting what they can. And, transporting it back to the Salinas Valley to process and it’s still going to be behind.”

If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest food and industry trends you can sign up for Peddler’s Son’s email list here.