Money and Business

Lettuce prices soar following a wet winter year

Good for farmers but not for restaurants

Lettuce prices soar high

OCEANO, Calif. - "Lettuce is one of the main products we use here," says Cornelio Diaz, head chef for Sylvester's Burgers in Oceano. 

As prices for lettuce soar high businesses are feeling the impact.

"In between three restaurants it's hard to keep the prices low for our customers," says Diaz. 

Prices for lettuce at the beginning of the year were much lower. Diaz says they were paying $20 a case but, that cost has now ballooned to $60 dollars a case. 

"With us going through so much it's not price effective for us right now," says Diaz. 

Those high costs aren't affecting customers. Diaz says despite their need to dish out more cash every time they need lettuce prices remain the same.  

"We do have to reuse some of it so the good lettuce we don't use for the set ups we go ahead and chop and mix with our romaine," he says. 

The heavy rain earlier this year is to blame for these skyrocketing prices. 

It's caused gaps in planting not allowing farmers like Tom Ikeda in Oceano to get out in the fields to farm. 

"Prices now I wouldn't say are historical but, close to historical levels," says Ikeda. 

He says with market prices so high he says it covers growing costs when the market is poor.

"There's a shortage so if they want the product they are going to have to pay the money," he says. 

Ikeda says during times like these consumers try and cut down the amount of lettuce they use and even by doing so there's still a shortage. 

"As a farmer no we are hoping this market stick around for a while," he says. 

While the high prices are helping farmers, Diaz says he hopes to soon see them go back down. 

"We are always hoping the prices go down so the prices don't go up on our burgers," says Diaz. 

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