Frost damage forcing schools to limit produce

Cold weather in southern states is causing shortages in produce served at area school districts.

Pasco School District is limiting the lettuce it buys because of steep price hikes, and it is serving more fruit.

Leslee Caul, district spokeswoman, said principals were notified last week that a freeze in Arizona had damaged iceberg, romaine and green leaf lettuce. There could be similar problems with cucumbers and tomatoes, she said.

Denise Christensen, Richland nutrition services director, said farms are peeling off the cold-damaged outer layers of the lettuce. But she said the district has been told to expect a shortage of tomatoes and peppers beginning next week.

The Kennewick School District did not have information Tuesday on how it will deal with the higher lettuce prices.