Can't afford high-priced veges? Choose seasonal options, and spare a thought for farmers during difficult growing season

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Shoppers complaining about prices for produce like lettuce - which in some parts of the country have reached $7 a head - are being advised to vary their diets.

Horticulture New Zealand acting CEO Richard Palmer says poor weather has created considerable shortages of certain crops like lettuce and broccoli.
Source: Breakfast

Recent poor weather in several of New Zealand's growing regions has left some vegetables in short supply, driving up prices.

Horticulture NZ acting CEO Richard Palmer says it's not only a hard time for consumers - but for farmers too.

"It's a crisis also for our farmers who may have planted a crop and lost half of it," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"We'd encourage those who want lettuces in what are difficult growing conditions to support our farmers and keep them growing those in seasons when they are not typically grown.

"I think the price just reflects the risk that they take as well."

Mr Palmer said it's expected that prices will start to ease over the next few weeks as more produce becomes available.

"We're hoping to see and ease of those prices in the next few weeks - I guess it depends a bit on what ex-tropical Cyclone Donna brings us today and tomorrow."

Many other seasonal vegetables are readily available and consumers should simply vary their diet.

"Our advice is to look at seasonal fruit and vegetables - potatoes, carrots, parsnips, apples, pears, kiwifruit are becoming pretty plentiful at this time of year," Mr Palmer says.

"Supplementing that with a few tomatoes to add a bit of difference to the salad ... having a roast vege salad instead of your lettuce salad.

"But we certainly want people to keep eating healthy fresh vegetables - get their 5+ a day."

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