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Lettuce shortage raising costs for restaurants

Prices have risen 300%

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local businesses are seeing as much as a 300 percent spike in the price of lettuce,

One business owner said the problem is a lettuce shortage that is weather related, and the impact was felt immediately.

Romaine lettuce weighs less than an ounce and its price is rising fast. 

"So there's always going to be fluctuations and spikes it just seems like we are seeing more of a spike than usual," said Alejandro Juarez, the owner of Hightide Burrito Co.

Juarez said normally a box of romaine lettuce cost $20 per case, but now it is costing him $50 to $60 per case. 

"It's just a significant jump," Juarez said. "We use probably 10 to 12 cases a week of lettuce, so it's a cost that we definitely feel."

At the Jacksonville Farmer's Market on W. Beaver Street, it's more of the same.

"We sell something else, if we don’t sell lettuce, sell other produce," said Mimi Chow, a vendor at the farmer's market.

If romaine lettuce maintains at a high price, she will sell something else, she has plenty of options. Business owners and wholesalers are hearing the same thing. The salad shortage, because of too much rain on the west coast and there is no guarantee of a price drop soon.

"We just have to adapt and hopefully we cross our fingers that it’s a temporary problem," Juarez said.

Several other businesses, including Fresh Fields Farm, are also experiencing a spike. So far, the consumer won’t see it, businesses said they’re taking the financial hit.


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