The end of California’s epic drought has cost farmers their bumper crops — and cost average consumers a few dollars more on their grocery store bills. Leafy greens, cauliflower, and celery crops have been underwhelming this year, costing consumers around $1 more per head of lettuce. A head of iceberg lettuce could cost you $5.99 at your local supermarket, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
The reason for the lettuce shortage, scientists are saying, is counterintuitive. After a decade-long drought finally broke and was followed by a warm winter, unusually rapid snow melt and heavy rains adversely affected California crops, drowning plants and rendering many leafy green crops useless.
The cost of a box of celery heads has tripled since February, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The salad shortage could affect consumers until at least May, Roland Fumasi, a senior produce analyst for Rabobank in Fresno, California, told Bloomberg.
Although there are other regions in America that grow leafy greens (notably Arizona), California’s lettuce production accounts for about 71 percent of the total crop and can seriously sway the market one way or another.