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California Lettuce Farmers Raking It In This Season

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Photo by via the Dwight Sippler on Flickr
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Though California are still trying to sort out how to make a profit on their ag goods, local lettuce growers are cashing in on their crop. Wholesale prices are soaring because of strong demand on the East Coast, where heavy rains and heat waves have devastated crops.

These leafy greens are grown all over our state, with earlier harvests hailing from Monterey and Santa Barbara, and later summer/early fall harvests coming from the San Joaquin Valley, Imperial and Riverside counties.

Oddly enough, iceberg lettuce, which Anthony Bourdain and food folks love to poke fun at, is leading the charge. It's going for double the price of a year ago.

Says the Times:

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Lettuce, like all greens, is subject to violent price swings because of poor weather. The average national retail price for a head of iceberg was $1.50 on Friday, according to the USDA. A week earlier it was $1.04. The peak price this year of $2.05 came Feb. 8 after growers in desert regions were recovering from an unseasonably cold winter that shrank supplies. Wholesale prices can change even more dramatically. The average carton of romaine cost $5.93 on March 10, 2012. A year later, $34.13. On Saturday, the Caesar salad staple stood at $12.58 a carton. Big buyers of lettuce often protect themselves from sticker shock by signing annual contracts that lock in prices.

So when you get a case of sticker shock from the rocket arugula at the Hollywood Farmers Market, just be glad you're not living in New York City.