How Produce Supply Chains Work in the U.S.

That broccoli you and your family had for dinner last night, any chance you know where it was grown? Unless you bought it at a Farmer’s Market, chances are it was grown and shipped from California. Many people recognize California for Hollywood, scenic beaches, coastal cities, and it’s delicious wines. But California also grows nearly half of the produce consumed in the United States and it’s almost the sole source for some domestically grown fruits and vegetables.

To name a few, California grows:
99% of Artichokes
97% of Plums
95% of Celery
95% of Garlic
94% of Broccoli
89% of Cauliflower
69% of Carrots

You get the idea. California has some of the most ideal growing conditions for fruits and vegetables, in terms of climate and soil. It is even potentially one of the most productive places in the world. Which is quite the notable achievement for us as a nation.

So why should we care about this? Well, for a few reasons. The first issue is a matter of resiliency. What would happen if all or even half of the incredible amount of production were to end? California is highly vulnerable to climatic disasters. Drought, wildfires, even earthquakes can have devastating impacts on agricultural production. Diversification is the key to adaptation and resiliency, a topic we’ll discuss another time.

The second main issue, one that we at Lettuce address head on, is a matter of food system supply chains. As it stands, much of the produce supply chain goes a bit something like this:



This is a simplified example and there is a chance I have missed several other steps in the process. But from farm to fork, the produce passes through many hands and travel thousands of miles. In addition, a fair amount of food waste occurs in this process from spoilage, “ugly” produce, or mishandling.

At Lettuce, we simplify this process by cutting out all the middlemen and our produce comes from our farms, through our processing center for meal kit assembly, and then right to your door.

Through our Hyperlocal farming and distribution model, mileage is reduced, waste is reduced, nutrition is maximized, freshness is maximized, and of course, taste is maximized. Our commitment to offering the highest quality ingredients not only contributes to the creation of delicious meals, but also reduces the overall food supply chain for you, your family, and the rest of the Lettuce Community.







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