Grimmway Farms' Bob Borda Discusses Current Lettuce Market
BAKERSFIELD, CA - The lettuce category offers something for everyone. Convenience, health, flavor—what more could a shopper ask for? The market moves at lightning speed for a category as diverse as this one, which is why I recently touched base with Bob Borda, Vice President of Cal-Organic Sales at Grimmway Farms.
“The overall market conditions are returning to their normal seasonal patterns as we kick off February,” Bob shared with me. “We anticipate good yields, solid supplies, and steady pricing throughout the month.”
Grimmway’s winter growing season kicked off with a transition south to California’s greater Thermal, Coachella, and Imperial Desert areas. Bob reported that the company is two weeks beyond the midpoint of its winter season and will be returning to the southernmost part of the San Joaquin Valley by mid-March.
As the recent Omicron surge has posed increased challenges to the supply chain, I asked Bob how Grimmway has been dealing with the obstacles.
“COVID has introduced increased challenges across our operations above and beyond the longer-term trends of higher costs for labor, fuel, transportation, fertilizer, and water,” Bob said. “The most recent wave heightened issues including inconsistent availability of labor and critical inputs required to produce our finished products that have escalated production costs to record highs, leading to higher prices across the lettuce category.”
Additionally, Grimmway faced challenges in regards to weather at the beginning of its winter season. However, temperatures are warming up, which makes for a good outlook on the buy-side.
“The cold weather in late December and early January slowed the growth of our leaf lettuces, thereby reducing overall supplies in the marketplace. The past two weeks have brought warm, mild weather to our growing regions, stimulating the growth of the lettuces,” Bob told me. “We are experiencing outstanding quality and improved yields as a result of the weather, thus leading to promotional volumes for our customers. Our customers can expect good-sized heads and heavier-than-normal weights throughout our Romaine, red leaf, and green leaf cartons.”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the market is moving at a rapid pace, and ANUK is here to keep you in the loop.