Some consumers believe inflation is causing the high price of lettuce. This assertion is misguided. In addition to the underlying economic pressures affecting the supply chain, soaring salad prices have been the result of extensive crop losses in the “lettuce bowl of the world” (Salinas Valley, USA) and the produce shortages that followed. To be more specific, many salad crops are being lost to diseases; namely Pythium wilt and impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV).

  • Pythium wilt disease is the main root rot problem facing coastal California lettuce. First found in the Salinas Valley in 2011 on only two ranches, Pythium wilt is now present in numerous fields throughout this coastal region. The disease is caused by Pythium uncinulatum, a pathogen that produces swimming zoospores which move throughout the soil, spreading over the surface and through the subsurface water flow. Pythium uncinulatum is host specific to lettuce and is said not to infect other vegetable crops – such as broccoli, cabbage, carrot, onion, pepper, radish, spinach, or tomato.
  • Impatiens necrotic spot virus causes a wide variety of symptoms, including wilting, stem death, stunting, yellowing, poor flowering, ‘chicken pox-like’ sunken spots on leaves, etches or ring spots on leaves, and more. It is largely spread by the insect vector of the western flower thrips. The virus infects more than 648 species of plants including important horticultural and agricultural species such as tomato and lettuce crops – especially romaine lettuce.

Industry Experts Discuss Challenges Facing Lettuce Producers

We assembled industry experts to identify the challenges facing lettuce producers, and discuss the factors that influence the price of lettuce. In this webinar, our guests collectively identified indoor farming technology and solutions that can help lettuce farmers overcome their tribulations and ultimately promote food security.

Our guest experts for this event were:

Ali Daniali – Founder and CEO at HRVSTS

As well as being the Founder and CEO of HRVSTS, Inc.; a food supply-chain technology company, Ali Daniali is a highly-regarded and accomplished executive, with a diverse agriculture, technology, and development background. Ali serves as a Leadership Council Member on the Controlled Environment Agriculture Leadership Council for the International Fresh Produce Association.

Jay Kallu – CEO at Vertical Choice

Jay Kallu has more than three decades of experience in the food industry, specializing in delivering fresh produce to the marketplace. Jay began his career as a grower/shipper of fresh produce to the retail and foodservice industries in Canada, USA, and UK. Most recently, Jay spent 10+ years with a National Food Service Distributor in Canada, as the company’s Senior Category Analyst for Produce.

Joshua Mahlik – Partnership Development Director at Fork Farms

Joshua has a passion for innovative design, experiential learning, sustainability, and health. Prior to joining Fork Farms, Joshua managed laboratory, facility identification, and water filtration product lines for Brady Corporation and Pentair. Joshua attributes the “Indians for Collective Action Scholarship” award for fundamentally impacting his perspective on food production and distribution systems.

Understanding Lettuce Costs And The Challenges Facing Producers [Cultivatd Webinar]
Let’s Talk About Lettuce Costs – Understanding Challenges in the Lettuce Industry