(Aug. 24) Lower production in California has bolstered lettuce markets, and demand should remain strong into September, grower-shippers said.

“Volume seems to be a little lighter than normal, and we’ve seen a little better demand, and it looks as though it will stay in that kind of pattern for at least the next week to 10 days,” said Mike Marcroft, lettuce commodity manager for Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif. “All in all, it’s a good situation.”

Iceberg and leaf markets began rising in mid-August, Marcroft said. California growers also have benefited from hot weather in the Midwest and East, which has put a dent in locally grown deals in those regions, he said.

Some growers reported quality issues relating to hot weather, which was restricting volumes, said Steve Davis, iceberg sales manager for Mills Family Farms, Salinas, Calif. However, it is also typical for volumes to start tapering off in the second half of August, Davis said.

“We anticipate very decent markets for the next few weeks,” he said Aug. 21. “It’s a pretty active market right now.”

On Aug. 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $10.35-12.50 for cartons 24s of iceberg from the Salinas Valley, down from $15.50-16.35 last year at the same time.

Cartons 24s of romaine from Salinas were $9.50-11.35, down from $12.95-15.45 last year. Cartons 24s of green leaf were $12.45-14.60, down from $14.35-15.95.