Iceberg Lettuce Market Sees Limited Supplies and High Pricing; Juan Gonzalez and Bill Vargas Share Details
CALIFORNIA & ARIZONA - Due to a multitude of factors, The Source recently reported that the Iceberg lettuce market is experiencing all-time highs in terms of pricing. With limited supplies due to defects and disease and strong consumer demand, the Iceberg market is expected to remain strong for another four weeks. For more insights, we reached out to some category experts.
Juan Gonzalez, Operations Manager at Lakeside Organic Gardens, shared the severe effects of the impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) on Iceberg crops but remains hopeful that things will get better shortly.
“Iceberg lettuce is having one of the worst production years ever,” he says. “Industry-wide, we are seeing INSV decimate field after field. Production should improve after transitioning into our southern district toward the beginning of December.”
Currently, production in Huron, California, is winding down, The Source noted. Salinas, California, is also almost finished, and Yuma, Arizona, is producing light supplies compared to demand. Consumer demand has also accounted for most of the available Iceberg supplies coming out of the Santa Maria, California, region, which has already seen extremely limited production.
Ippolito International Iceberg Commodity Manager Bill Vargas provided more critical insights on the grower’s production schedule and supplies.
“We began the Yuma season on October 24, 2022, going into the desert a few days ahead of schedule. We finished the Salinas season Monday, October 31, 2022. Salinas was very challenging due to poor yields, quality, and well below-normal weights,” he explained. “In Yuma, weights are very light to start. We continue to reach ahead into fields that are not quite fully weighted so that we can service our customers, who continue to press us for more product, as the industry has a low supply."
Vargas went on to detail demand for the category and its impact on prices.
“Out of Salinas, Huron, and Santa Maria, the demand for Iceberg lettuce has exceeded the available supply. Prices as high as the upper 80s are being quoted out,” he added. “I expect the lighter weights to continue next week and possibly beyond. Also, I expect demand to keep supplies very light for the near future, possibly through the end of November. I’m still pondering this entire situation. It’s tough to see how it will all settle out.”
As more updates on the Iceberg market become available, AndNowUKnow will report.
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Ippolito International is a second-generation farming company providing year-round supplies of premium quality Queen...