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Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget the lettuce!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget the lettuce!

With the big freeze, a snowstorm, and torrential rainfalls in Spain last month, the supermarkets in the United Kingdom, are now showing empty shelves in the grocery’s produce section.

The solution? Send lettuce. Best before the summer and to help our all-year-round salad consumers to survive, make restaurants happy, and keep sandwiches crispy fresh.

Some supermarkets are rationing the number of iceberg lettuce and broccoli that customers can buy, reported the BBC, blaming poor growing conditions in southern Europe for a shortage in UK stores.

Supermarket chain, Tesco, is limiting shoppers to three iceberg lettuces, as all this bad weather in Spain has caused “availability issues.”

While Co-op said it was not limiting purchases at the moment, it was asking customers to “shop responsibly.”

One grocery store in the UK is witnessing something for the first time in 11 years: “I have seen … salad produce come from America. Normally at this time of year, it comes from Spain or Holland, but the US is quite something.”

“Southern Spain provides around 80% of the fresh produce for the EU out of season, so it is not just the UK,” the gentleman told BBC Radio 5Live.

“There are still stocks coming in, albeit at a reduced rate – I have seen it is as low as 30-50% of what we normally have – but the challenge is we are not the only people buying it.

“With Germany, France, and the rest of the EU, too, the people who are prepared to pay are going to get it.”

Heads of Iceberg lettuce are now arriving from America and selling for over $55 a box.

So, don’t leave home without some iceberg lettuce in your luggage, if a crispy Caesars salad will be what you’ll be wanting when traveling to Europe in the coming weeks!

Not only is the UK, which gets 80% of its whole produce from Spain, but the other European countries such as Germany, France, and Belgium – and even Dubai – is seeing a sudden shortage, and the restaurants, cafes, sandwich shops – well, they all want iceberg lettuce, and so the price has tripled.

Iceberg lettuce that is currently being stocked in UK supermarkets have probably been grown in California rather than Europe.

The Spanish association of fruit and vegetable producers, FEPEX, said it expected the shortage of leafy vegetables grown outdoors, including lettuce and spinach, to continue until early April.

With the habit of buying typical “summer groceries” during winter months, customers have to think twice about either paying a high price or using traditional groceries which are in season now, like leeks, and all kinds of different cabbage and carrots, etc.

Turkey – another important supplier – also had plenty of snow and is suffering under extreme cold weather.

So perhaps for this Valentine’s Day –  instead of red roses – send some crispy lettuce and buy some (hopefully) tasty courgettes and broccoli to go with it – you will be loved!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

PHOTOS: Lettuce in Turkey & Milan, Via della Spiga © Elisabeth Lang

This copyright material, including photos, may not be used without written permission from the author and from eTN.

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