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Church Brothers Farms' Jason Lathos Discusses Steady Romaine Market

Church Brothers Farms' Jason Lathos Discusses Steady Romaine Market



SALINAS, CA - As a vegetarian, salads are my go-to, especially when eating out. The refreshing crunch of Romaine lettuce never gets old, and the versatile product can be applied to the plate in a variety of ways. Coming off Valentine’s Day—a holiday known for its eating occasions—I linked up with Church Brothers Farms’ Jason Lathos to discuss the current state of the Romaine market.

Jason Lathos, Manager of Commodities, Church Brothers Farms“Our team is currently seeing very good quality and volumes,” began the Manager of Commodities. “We will transition from Yuma, Arizona, back to California’s Salinas Valley in mid-April, so we are not only doing short-term planning, but long-term planning to ensure there are no gaps or overlaps in production. As of right now, it looks like everything is fitting like a glove.”

Overall, the Romaine market is looking steady as consumer demand saw a 10 to 15 percent lift surrounding what Jason said is one of the biggest foodservice holidays of the year, aside from Mother’s Day. Jason also relayed that pricing has been overall steady but is always subject to change depending on volumes/yield at the field level as well as demand.

Church Brothers Farms is currently seeing very good quality and volumes on its Romaine lettuce supplies

“Pricing has been steady in the double digits. The market has been between $10 to $14, and we are hanging around $12 currently. Any time you’re at double digits or higher, that’s a positive,” Jason told me.

The only potential challenge Jason sees in the field revolves around end-of-season disease. Fluctuations in weather and long lengths of time in the field can sometimes bring about disease that creates a gap or loss of product, causing the market to go up. However, there are currently no issues in sight, and Church Brothers Farms is well-positioned to combat any issues.

Looking toward the supply chain, Jason and I also discussed how transportation has posed challenges to the grower.

Overall, the Romaine market is looking steady as consumer demand saw a 10 to 15 percent lift surrounding Valentine's Day

“The loading patterns are definitely skewed right now. There’s a lot of no-show trucks, and freight rates have been up. Finding trucks and drivers has been tough. But this has been a factor for the last two years,” he said.

Even so, Jason anticipates that recent consumer trends will help foster a greater sense of normalcy.

“I think people are getting burned out on isolation and have what I call a home hangover,” he noted. “Consumers are tired of just buying their groceries at retail and cooking at home; they want to treat themselves. They are also being more sympathetic toward foodservice workers, so they clearly want to support restaurants and their staff.”

As we at ANUK continue to learn more surrounding produce, transportation, and labor, keep coming back to our little green logo.

Church Brothers Farms



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Church Brothers Farms

Church Brothers Farms is a vertically-integrated family owned and operated company that produces a full line of fresh...