Your Thanksgiving dinner might contain fewer greens this season. California winter vegetables such as lettuce, celery, cauliflower and broccoli could be slim on availability this holiday season. Lettuce, in particular, is seeing a rough end to the production season due to a serious virus that has impacted Salinas Valley. Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) kills lettuce when it’s in its mature stage, just before harvest.
Prices for a 24-count carton of romaine lettuce neared the $80 range early this month, according to USDA. Last year, it was less than half that amount. Lettuce demand remains strong, so lettuce producers are parting ways with younger lettuce plants in an effort to fulfill contracts with core customers.
A celery shortage is underway as well, largely due to supply being unable to keep up with robust demand. Cooler-than-normal weather has also knocked down broccoli and cauliflower crops throughout the state.
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