There has been a veritable buzz in the produce aisle of late—about Cauliflower.
Specifically, the price of this Brassicaceae. It has reached such soaring heights that it has been featured in the news, restaurants are taking it off their menus, and food programs such as REACH (Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger) can no longer afford to buy the snowy white veg after it rose from $49 to $85 a case.
Two factors are to blame: a drought in the U.S. and the nose-diving Canadian dollar. Add the finicky nature of raising a crop of this cruciferous vegetable. It seems that cauliflower is the Goldilocks of the garden—preferring not-too-hot, not-too-cold, but just-right growing conditions. As consumers demand perfect heads, the weather can also play havoc by causing unsaleable brown-spotted specimens.
Last week, my local market was (not) selling cauliflower for $8.95 a pound. This week it is on sale for $4.97 each. As one giddy customer informed me after weighing the hefty head, her choice would have cost $22 last week.
So, cauliflower is back on the plate in my neck of the woods. Apparently Canadians really, really like this particular vegetable—being the second-largest importer in the world. Food writer for The New York Times, Sam Sifton said in a recent article that, “Cauliflower is shaping up as a star of this winter season.”
Well, it is this week.
How Did Cauliflower Come to Cost as Much as a Pound of Grass-Fed Ground Beef?, The Globe and Mail (here); Rise In Produce Prices Hurt Regina Food Program REACH (here); Soaring Cauliflower Prices Come to a Head for Restaurateurs (here); Recipes for a Long Weekend, The New York Times, (here).
Image: Lauren Tamaki