I got a pal who works produce for a major supermarket here in OC. He's a great guy: we like sports, he likes to hear about the journalism and politics world, and I like to hear about the world of produce, which is far more fascinating than you can ever imagine.
Yesterday, he sent me this email:
Here is something you might see soon. Lettuce prices are going to skyrocket.
Last week on Thursday, I bought romaine at $9.50 a case. On Saturday, I bought 20 cases at $24!
That is our business.
Restaurants are at a big disadvantage because they cannot really raise their prices like algorithms.
We can, but our prices can just slow down the movement.
In all my years of buying vegetable that was the fastest swing ever.
The reason? Our unseasonably warm winter in the Southwest, specifically the Coachella Valley, coupled with the recent cold spell that just devastated the lettuce crop. The Packer, the bible of the produce industry, was forecasting a shortage as early as December–and when there's a shortage, there's a price increase. It's capitalism, silly!
So better load up on your bib, romaine, and butter lettuce while you can. Me? I'll just stick to nopales…