What is the Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus?

What is the Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus?

Team Beet Aug 25 , 2022

The Salinas Valley in Central California, often referred to as “America’s Salad Bowl,” is known for producing much of the country’s leafy greens and vegetables. Farmers in the region are facing an insect-borne virus that is affecting romaine, romaine hearts, and iceberg lettuce both in the field and in transit. We’re writing to inform you of the situation and how we’re navigating the resulting shortages.

Why is this happening?

Lettuce farmers in Salinas Valley first encountered the Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) in their fields three summers ago, and since its discovery, the virus has affected lettuce crops in the late summer and early fall each year. This virus is spread from plant to plant by thrip insects, small winged bugs that thrive in high temperatures. INSV causes the leaves of the plants to yellow, brown, and decay starting with the innermost leaves, and the lesions can continue to spread throughout the lettuce during transit. There is currently no known remedy for INSV, and, as a result, the virus is affecting the harvests and supply coming from the growing region. Romaine, romaine hearts, and iceberg lettuce are being affected most significantly, however the virus could also affect mixes, green leaf, red leaf, gems, and more. We’re expecting INSV to continue to affect supply until the end of the Salinas growing season, approximately through Thanksgiving.

What can you expect?

“We’re in constant communication with our amazing Salinas farmer partners, who are diligently monitoring the situation and doubling down on their quality control efforts as they inspect plants in the field,” says Director of Produce Merchandising Ken Bower. “Our partners are doing their best to supply us with as much quality lettuce as possible, while they plan for their transition to more southern, less affected growing regions like Huron, California and Yuma, Arizona.” Our team is also sourcing greens from other growing regions to help supplement our stores. “There are some local options available, and we’re looking to our partners in Canada, Ohio, and Michigan to help make sure we’re stocked,” says Ken.

Want to know more?

We’re happy to help! Your sales rep can help find a solution that works best for you, so please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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