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Lentil Shortage. Has anyone heard? ...or just rumor?

Cheese Boy Oct 5, 2006 09:38 PM

Can this be? Or is this just a way to get the price of this innocent little legume to quadruple over the next several months? Did over-saturated soil (with all the rains) or extreme heat have any effect on the lentil harvest somewhere? Lentil prices are relatively *low* right now, but scarce availablilty will definitely change that. What's the word on the street out there?

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  1. JoanN Oct 5, 2006 09:47 PM

    There was an article in the NYTimes about a week ago. Here's a quote:

    "The Indian government’s recent ban on the export of lentils, to stabilize rising prices there, has led to shortages in New York and a steep increase — depending on the type, sometimes double, or even triple — in the price of lentils."

    It goes on to say that people in certain areas of Queens have been cleaning the shelves of what little is left in anticipation of an upcoming Hindu holiday season.

    1. m
      MikeG Oct 6, 2006 12:41 AM

      This is just Indian lentils, or something somehow more widespread?

      1. m
        MikeG Oct 6, 2006 12:56 AM

        Nevermind, just read that article.

        1. pikawicca Oct 6, 2006 12:58 AM

          Even if lentil prices double or triple, they're still cheap.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pikawicca
            f
            FelafelBoy Oct 6, 2006 06:52 AM

            My local paper reported the same thing, and that some Indian restaurants are simply not serving the same dal dishes that they were before - too expensive. Lunch buffets that used to have dal dishes like tarka dal, offer something else now.
            Ironic that one of the previously affordable and staple dish for Indians is now not so affordable or staple.

          2. m
            MikeG Oct 6, 2006 12:19 PM

            "Even if lentil prices double or triple, they're still cheap"

            Only if you eat them occasionally in Western-side-dish proportions. If bread, pasta or eggs suddenly doubled or tripled in price, would you consider them "still cheap"? (In terms of their food value, you could argue they would be, but few people would agree I think.)

            1. a
              Alan408 Oct 6, 2006 02:42 PM

              In my area, the lentil shortage seems to be over. I could not find lentils during the summer but ~3 weeks ago, the shelves of three supermarkets had bagged lentils. Prices are the same as before the outage.

              1. DiveFan Oct 7, 2006 12:11 AM

                As noted above, the shortage is apparently Indian sourced only. There are plenty of inexpensive Asian and American lentils here in SoCal.
                If your supermarket buyer can't find the latter, perhaps you should patronize a different market.

                1. c
                  chilihead Oct 7, 2006 10:55 PM

                  And little did any of you realize that Moskow, Idaho has laid claim to being the Lentil and Pea Capital of the World...I sure didn't.

                  1. m
                    MikeG Oct 11, 2006 09:37 PM

                    I've seen no difference among non-Indian pulses (yet), but I did just buy some Indian dal today and YIKES! yes, double in price. Call me nuts, but paying $8 for 4 lbs of chana dal and red lentils was rather a shock to me! At least I don't rely on them as a staple to feed a family. Not surprisingly, but sadly, the non-Indian sourced stuff has also jumped up in price, at least at Indian groceries. Definitely going to stock up on Goya for the medium term at least. Hopefully sales will drop off so they won't be too strongly tempted to leave them this high once Indian eases off the export ban.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MikeG
                      Cheese Boy Oct 12, 2006 03:55 AM

                      Yes, my point exactly. I have a hunch they'll leave the prices high. Some have expressed that even then, they [the lentils], would still be inexpensive. I hope these same people will realize and enjoy paying double or triple for a cup of lentil soup when they decide to order out/in. I tisn't payin' 10 bucks for a cup or bowl of lentil soup.

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