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Desert weather problems should push up prices

markon icy lettuce
Photos by Markon Cooperative

The continuing low temperatures in the California and Arizona desert growing regions will start to increase prices soon.

Markon Cooperative BB #:123315 reports from the fields that the cold is hindering plant growth and will push up prices, especially as demand increases.

“Processors will have to harvest more fields,” Markon said. “Lower weights equal fewer harvestable pounds per acre.”

Growers report quality problems such as epidermal blistering and epidermal peeling, where the skin breaks down and turns brown.

“Growers can harvest early in anticipation of lettuce ice (reinforcing stocks), but this will only help in the short term,” Markon said. “When heads damaged by lettuce ice (with epidermal peeling) are exposed to rain it accelerates the decaying process.”

Unfortunately, more rain is forecast which will cause quality problems and harvest issues, such as slower crew movement, mud on product and boxes and machinery getting stuck in the mud.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services