Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

North-east greengrocers feeling the effect of nationwide lack of lettuce

Tip of the iceberg?
Tip of the iceberg?

Vegetable sellers across the north and north-east have said a nationwide lack of lettuce has left them feeling rotten.

Supermarkets have rationed the number of lettuces each customer can purchase in stores and iceberg, sweet gem and romaine varieties have been taken off sale completely by some online.

An extreme drought followed by flooding and freezing conditions has badly affected growers on the continent- and particularly Spain where many of the UK’s supply comes from.

Reports of a “black market” of the vegetables have since emerged due to the nation-wide shortage.

Along with lettuces, other green favourites like courgettes and broccoli are also being rationed in some shops.

The Murcia region of Spain supplies nearly 75% of Spain’s lettuce exports and represents 13% of all the lettuces grown in the EU.

Magnus Swanson, managing director of wholesaler Swanson Fruit Co Ltd, said the firm with bases in Moray and the Highlands was looking as far afield as the United States to tackle the shortage.

He said: “We have been having problems for weeks now but it only seems to have become big news when the supermarkets were affected.

“We are getting lettuce from America now because that’s all we can do.

“We’ll soon be back to normal but just now we’re buying them for about £1.50 a lettuce. That’s about four times the usual price.

“But I think the worst of it is over and things will be getting back to normal.”

John Sorry, owner of The Green Grocer in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, said that changing eating habits of British customers had meant more expectation of foreign and off season produce.

He said: “We are trying to focus on local produce, as we always are, but people now want things all year round.

“People eat strawberries all year now for example.

“The grow time for a lettuce in Spain is between 10 and 12 weeks so things should sort themselves out.

“We were informed by our suppliers that there would be problems and we let our customers know so they could plan ahead.”

But he added: “It’s the courgettes that are really hard to come by. They’re like gold dust.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in