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Cold hits desert lettuce, but quality remains good

desert ice romaine 11-17-22
In November, desert growing regions saw ice in lettuce fields. Photo courtesy Markon

Crop update from Markon Cooperative BB #:123315

November 17, 2022 — Temperatures in the Arizona/California desert growing region dipped into the mid-30°s to low 40°s this morning, causing light-to moderate lettuce ice to develop.

Harvesting crews for lettuce and tender leaf items will be delayed 2-3 hours or until the ice has fully thawed. Value-added production and loading delays can be expected through the weekend with more cold temperatures and lettuce ice in the forecast.

Markon inspectors are monitoring the situation and will update further in the coming days.

Green leaf, iceberg, and romaine supplies are increasing as production in the Arizona and California desert ramps up.

Extremely elevated market levels persist but will decrease in the coming weeks.

Initial quality in the Arizona/California desert regions is very good; low weights, odd shape, puffy texture, seeder, and wind damage are present in some early lots.

Green leaf and romaine supplies are more readily available compared to prior weeks, causing markets to begin to inch down.

Iceberg remains limited; prices have peaked and are expected to decrease next week.

Expect markets to continue to decline into early December as supplies increase in the desert and Thanksgiving demand subsides.