Church Brothers Farms' Jason Lathos Details High Lettuce and Leafy Greens Markets
SALINAS, CA - An intense heat wave swept across California last week, impacting growing operations throughout the state. With the lettuce and leafy greens markets already high prior to this weather event, I got in touch with Jason Lathos, Manager of Commodities at Church Brothers Farms, to get more details.
“Pricing for both lettuce and leafy greens has been trending toward the high 20s to low 30s for multiple weeks. We’ve had high markets on both categories for almost seven weeks, mainly due to lower supplies. Weather and disease play a large role in our harvest volumes, and supplies were already looking low before the heat wave hit,” Jason told me.
Jason explained that when you have a high market, it’s usually due to light supplies, and it typically comes with quality issues. The good news is that Church Brothers has continued to see excellent quality upon arrival, which is rare considering current market conditions.
“Now that we’ve had this eight-day heat wave, what I’m worried about is having lighter supplies and now quality issues on arrival,” Jason continued. “When you have leafy greens go through the stress of the 24 hours of heat and humidity, the forecasted numbers from the field can change on a day-to-day basis. It’s a waiting game at this point, but we are still optimistic.”
Now eight weeks away from its transition to Yuma, Arizona, in the middle of November, Church Brothers is waiting to see whether supplies will continue to lighten as demand remains steady.
My team and I will certainly be checking back in with this lettuce and leafy greens grower, so stay tuned.