Increased rain levels in California leads to hike in local lettuce prices

Lettuce prices see a price hike due to heavy California rain (WSET).

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Hold onto you salad dressings! An increase in lettuce prices may have you second guessing your stroll down the produce aisle.

Romaine Lettuce is always on the grocery list for Danville resident Jim Cirillo.

Recently, he noticed a big change at the Food Lion grocery store that had him thinking twice about his daily salad. "The price has skyrocketed! Originally it was .99 cents a head, that I was paying for probably over a year," said Cirillo. "Now it's up to $2.49 a head."

Leafy green prices are at an all time high at other the local markets too.

William Belton, a Market on Ketuck manger, says it all comes down to the rain all the way across the country in California.

The past couple of years they've been in drought. "Where they had all those droughts out there, they really had no water issues," said Belton. "That's good on lettuce, lettuce don't need a lot of water on that,"

Then came the recent rain. "Then the floods come and wipe it all out," Belton explained it ruined the lettuce crop.

It's also a transition season.

Belton said California is the biggest lettuce supplier for the country, but because of the heavy rain, Florida has had to compensate for California. "Florida and places like that grow lettuce, but they are in between crops and they are not used to supplying the whole United States with it," said Belton.

For now, lettuce lovers like Cirillo will try to romaine calm. "I'm considering alternatives, maybe other vegetables I can eat that are cheaper that have not been affected," said Cirillo.

Belton is watching those rain levels in California. He hopes that the prices will come down in the next 3 to 4 weeks. Lettuce may be cheaper this summer.

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