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Arizona Flooding Boosts Lettuce Prices

From Associated Press

A flood in the Arizona desert is driving up the price of lettuce across the nation.

Flooding last week along the Gila River is hitting the state’s most productive farm belt, which also is the leading winter supplier of iceberg lettuce. Farmers rushed to salvage what they could of crops--much of it immature, baseball-sized heads of lettuce.

“You’re going to see a lot of product on the market that’s not up to standard,” said Gary Pasquinelli, whose family has run Pasquinelli Produce Co. since 1945. “There’s going to be high prices for an inferior product.”

Wholesale prices have jumped dramatically, to $24 for a 24-head carton in Arizona, up from $6 last week, said Gary Lucier, an agricultural economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

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At the Grand Union in Bergenfield, N.J., lettuce was going for 99 cents a head this week, up just a dime from the previous week. The story was the same at an Indianapolis Safeway and a Vons market in Los Angeles.


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