CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A food shortage is forcing local businesses to remove certain items from the menu.
An ongoing lettuce shortage is hard to avoid, whether it’s your local restaurants, fast food chain, or grocery store.
“I can’t find romaine lettuce at all. It’s just not available,” said the general manager of Hawthorne’s Pizza and Bar, Christopher Mullis. “I can’t make you a Cesar salad. If you want it, I’m sorry, you can’t have it unless you want to substitute for a green leaf which is also difficult to get and especially finding it in any good quality.”
This time of year, most romaine lettuce comes directly from California.
Now, farmers are dealing with a drought, higher temperatures than usual, and a disease that’s destroying crops.
“I’ve had a few restaurants reach out to me and ask me if I have romaine lettuce because they have special salads that only take romaine lettuce,” said the owner of Tega Hills Farm, Mindy Robinson. “I don’t grow romaine right now, so I said, ‘no; I am so sorry I don’t have my mix.'”
What Robinson does have in her greenhouse is mixed green.
“I have about five different varieties of lettuce,” Robinson said.
Some restaurants use green leaf lettuce as a substitute for romaine, causing an uptick and demand and prices.
“On Oct. 25, I think I paid $31 a case for green leaf lettuce, and a week later, I was paying $91 for a case of it,” Mullis said.
Salads at restaurants need vital ingredients, or they cost too much for the owner to profit.
“Lettuce is more expensive than the chicken right now per case,” Mullis said. “If you want lettuce, that stuff is gold.”