Fresh-market vegetable crops in California, Florida, and Mexico were hit with a variety of inclement weather this summer and fall.
The adverse weather reduced supplies and contributed to higher shipping-point prices, according to a USDA Economic Research Service report. Shipping-point prices for fresh vegetables are expected to remain above seasonal norms until new or replanted fields are harvested in late December or early January.
While retail prices for all food rose at the quickest year-over-year pace since 1979, up about ten percent, retail fresh vegetable prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose six percent during the first three quarters of 2022. Driven primarily by rising transport costs and higher prices for key items such as potatoes, onions, and lettuce, when complete this year, the Consumer Price Index for fresh vegetables will likely present the largest year-to-year gain since an 11 percent surge in 1998.