Last year was brutal for pizza operators like Ron Berger, chief executive of Figaro’s Italian Pizza, but you’d never hear it in his voice. Foreign demand for dairy products sent cheese prices through the stratosphere, and domestic droughts parched wheat fields and propelled flour prices to record highs. But in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when most chief executives are in holiday hibernation mode, Berger was on a scenic-route pass through the Joshua Tree ...

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