Iceberg and Romaine
The heat continues to take a toll on leafy items out west, especially on iceberg and romaine. Case weights are
lower than usual due to harvesters peeling back outer leaves to remove heat damage and leaf color will be
lighter than normal.
Lettuce and leaf crops that were recovering from the August heatwave when the fi res were sparked are
now plunged back into another diffi cult situation. Tip burn is rampant, sun scalding is present and plants, in
general, are exhibiting signs of stress which show as twisting/elongated cores, plants wanting to fl ower and
in extremes showing a bitter taste. Both yields and quality will be impacted by this second round of extreme
heat that many crops have had to live through. Some fi elds will be left behind completely. Markets will likely
show the impact of these stressors.
Growers and shippers are spending extra time in the fi eld to harvest products with the least amount of
damage. These conditions will continue through the end of September given the current weather forecasts.
Quality issues will be industry-wide. At this point, Iceberg has felt the impact more than any other commodity.
Besides Iceberg and Romaine, there is increased pressure on the following commodities:
∙ Caulifl ower
Low yields and subpar supplies are dominating the growing regions. The smoke layer from surrounding fires
has reduced sun exposure and further reduced fruit and plant maturation. Labor continues to be an issue as
well, and when combined with the poor yields on the plants the situation is multiplied.
This is an industry-wide issue that will take a few weeks to sort out. These conditions will affect all West
Coast production ranging from strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Harvesting efforts have also been
impacted due to high temperatures lessening the time frames laborers can harvest product.