Why Are Scallions Suddenly So Expensive?

In my grocery store (in NJ), scallions used to be something like 69 cents a bunch for six to eight scallions about the thickness of my thumb with long green shoots. Now they’re $1 a bunch, and the scallions are the thickness of a pencil, with much shorter shoots.

The produce clerk blamed the Gold King Mine toxic waste spill (not by name, but I assume that’s what he was talking about), but I can find nothing that says any agriculture was impacted by that. In fact, most of what I found indicated that by the time the water got past Lake Mead, it was back to normal.

So what gives? Does anyone here know why scallions have shot up in price and down in quality? Are there any other similar produce price jumps?

No idea. It is probably just a seasonal thing. Possibly the local weather (around NJ) sucks in the last few weeks.

Isn’t all produce (and other food) more expensive?

This article on Eater has an explanation.

My Blog
My Flickr

Thank you–the article does a good job of explaining it. Briefly for others, It’s El Niño, not a toxic spill. Which means, presumably, this too shall pass.

But I just keep thinking of the line from Interstellar: “They say that’s the last crop of okra. Ever.”

Well, yes. Fundamentally speaking, inflation is a corollary and consequence of economic growth. In this case, however, the massive price spikes are not across the board. As the Eater article RGR linked to below, and prevailing consumer economic analysts have been noting, the El Nino effect is the primary driver. As with all things, however, price increases driven by external events tend to reach the consumer with additional, “snowball” price inflations as those in the chain of production and marketing tack on their bonus shares.

Personally, I’m just glad it’s not being explained away as “rising fuel prices” again. The “snowball” additions are always largest then. Even worse, once prices have been upwardly adjusted, plummeting fuel costs never seem capable of driving 'em back down.

I listened to a scientist at UC Berkeley on NPR quite a while back. All their evidence suggests that we’re in the beginning of a hundred year drought, the worse we’ve had in 500 years. This following isn’t the broadcast but may be the person who was interviewed:

That’s weird. I live in manhattan and our produce can go from $1.50/head for iceburg to $2.99/head the next week (now) with some frequency.
Scallion at one market nearest me are 89cents a bunch (normal). That same market has broccoli at $2.99/bunch and cucumbers 99cents ea.
The market a bit further away from me has the scallions at 2/$1 (which is weird cheap but I don’t ask questions!), broccoli at $2.99 and cucumbers at $1.25.

If you have access to a mexican or asian grocery both always have rock bottom prices for scallions

I usually try to get my produce at the ethnic groceries/produce stores around here. But it wasn’t even just the cost–it was the minuscule size that surprised me. It was as if they suddenly decided to harvest way too early for some reason. (I wish I could find the spring onions the Mexican restaurants serve with their platters. Those have nice bulbs instead of being straight-line all the way down.)

They’re 89 cents a (typical) bunch at my suburban Boston supermarket chain, Market Basket.

@eleeper, I was at Delicious Orchards this afternoon. Scallions were not skinny. Price was $.79 a bunch or two for $1.50.

My Blog
My Flickr

$1.19 a bunch in Hamden Ct & I still need them!

They’ve come back down from redonkulous prices in the last few weeks. About 2-3 weeks ago, they were $1.49 at the local grocery chain, and then up to about 1.69 at the local Chinese market for one bunch (I think pre-CNY rip-off). But they are back down to 3 for a little over a $1 last weekend. Not sure what was going on there.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter!

Press Room
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold