News Column

Lettuce Prices Retreating

Feb 12, 2013

James Haggerty, The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.

A recent run-up in lettuce prices seems to be retreating.

Costs of romaine, leaf, iceberg and other lettuce varieties shot up this month after a round of freezing temperatures and heavy rains in January damaged crops in Arizona and southern California.

"That made it a scarce, high market," said Jay Rosenstein, co-owner at William Rosenstein and Sons, a produce wholesaler on Keyser Avenue in Scranton.

Some regional grocery stores charged close to $3 a head for leaf and romaine lettuce varieties over the weekend.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Rosenstein was selling a 24-head carton of iceberg lettuce for $36 to $42. Now, he's charging $20 to $22 for the same quantities.

"I'm at half the price I was two weeks ago," he said.

Gerrity's Supermarket, though, saw the price spike fizzle as supplies became more available, produce specialist Enrico Galassi said.

"We have adjusted some of our pricing down," Mr. Galassi said. "It is sort of behind us."

He said the price of a pound of romaine lettuce at Gerrity's peaked recently at $1.99 and is now about $1.70.

Some quality issues may continue to impact lettuce supplies temporarily, Mr. Galassi said.

Most grocery shoppers probably will begin to see prices start to diminish at the retail level soon, Mr. Rosenstein predicted.

"You won't see a reflection until next week's pricing," he said.



Source: (c)2013 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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