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California lettuce quality problems worsen

iceberg stress markon
This field of iceberg lettuce shot in early October shows the stress of weather problems the past three months. (photo courtesy Markon)

October 12, 2022 — Markon Cooperative’s BB #:123315 Markon First Crop (MFC) Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine packs are extremely limited; Markon Best Available (MBA) is being substituted as needed.

Significant soil disease and plant virus pressure over the past three months have come to a head in the Salinas Valley.

Green leaf shows the plant virus INSV.

Growers have experienced yield losses of 30% to 80% or more in many iceberg and leaf lettuce crops, forcing them into increasingly younger fields to salvage what product they can before disease or heat/rain-related issues cause further losses.

Case weights have plummeted in most lettuce crops. Some 24-count liner lettuce is currently weighing as low as 28-32 pounds; nearly 15 pounds under normal industry weight ranges.

Supply challenges and shortages are expected for the next four to six weeks, or until the desert growing season is fully underway.

Markon inspectors continue to monitor fields and work with suppliers to secure the best product for Markon orders.

This field of Romaine lettuce shows significant die off.