There's been an issue cropping up for some local eateries and diners as lettuce varieties have become tough to pluck off the shelves.

As people head into some of Swift Current's local dining venues, they may notice a lack of leafy options while the supply dwindles. 

For Shaun Hanna, co-owner of Nightjar Diner Company in Swift Current, this situation has been above the wire of regular problems. 

Shaun Hanna with his SCBEX award.Shaun Hanna, co-owner of Nightjar Diner Company, was award the Community Impact Award earlier this year during the SCBEX Awards. (photo by Hayden Michaels)

"Typically you would see a price spike anyway, but this year has been exceptionally different," said Hanna. " It's been a kind of a storm of the worst nature for produce." 

The situation has sprouted at this particular time of the year due to two factors.

The first is that right now, the growing season in the U.S is changing over, and will see growers and suppliers setting down new roots in Arizona for the coming growing season. As that situation matures, there should be more stock readily available. 

The second reason is that there is nothing left in California to ship. With most of the lettuce grown in North America coming from the sunshine state, the fact that they've been hit with a drought for the last three years has chopped short their ability to produce the salad base staple. 

For Hanna, one workaround that helped serve up a solution was to order produce locally from Green Spade Farm, located just outside Swift Current.

"It helps to make sure that we're getting stuff as locally as possible and it helps that way," said Hanna. " But I mean, at the end of the day, Sask has a short growing season and we have to get it from somewhere."

That option only bears fruit for a limited time and has seen Nightjar running into the same issue that Akropol is facing, of paying up to three times the regular price for an order of product. 

John Gannitsos, owner-operator of Akropol Restaurant and Lounge in Swift Current, isn't too pleased with the current cost of doing business.

John Gannitsos, owner operator of Akropol, serving folks during Side Walk Days, 2022. (photo by Hayden Michaels)John Gannitsos, owner operator of Akropol, serving folks during Side Walk Days, 2022. (photo by Hayden Michaels)

"A case in the summertime was like $45 and now it's $150 to $160," said Gannitsos. "You can't get it. The other problem is it isn't the best lettuce for $150 a $160."

Even with the exuberant amount being paid for these iceberg's, romain's, and cress's, often there are rusty leaves and even some bits that are unusable in a served dish. 

"It hurts because I could just say 'no salad period'," Gannitsos shared. "I could easily just say that because the cost is way too much. When someone orders a bowl of salad and half of it is still left, it hurts."

For the time being, some places will have a surcharge on salad dishes to cover the cost of crisp crates of lettuce, while others will wait and see if removing the option for salads will be more sustainable than serving them.

"I can't say that the prices are always going to be as high as they are now, but I don't think they're ever going to be much lower," said Hanna. "I think those inflationary prices are probably a reality that we're going to have to get used to."