pilipphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) — Sad news for salad fans who enjoy the peppery bite of arugula over other lettuces: there’s a national shortage.
The shortfall is due to the “unexpectedly cold and wet winter weather facing growers throughout the Southwest,” according to the New Food Economy.
Those harsh conditions “paved the way for the spread of a fungal disease called downy mildew,” which has made it difficult to produce healthy crops, the article further explained.
Have you noticed empty shelves where the arugula is supposed to be? Well that’s because there’s a shortage, and you can blame something called downy mildew. (Also climate change) https://t.co/ADy24oN6i2
— The Counter (@TheCounter) January 27, 2020
The shortage has already been felt by shoppers, purveyors and and diners across the country.
In New York, the fast casual Mediterranean restaurant chain Cava posted signs Monday saying there was no arugula available for their mixed greens or grain bowls.
A specialty foods store owner in Lafayette, California, told ABC News San Francisco station KGO that he’s noticed a lack of the lacey leafed green at most stores in the area.
“Safeway didn’t have it — Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s didn’t have it locally,” Nate Bradley said.
“When we didn’t have it, we tried to find a replacement with baby kale, but it just wasn’t the same,” he said of the staple ingredient for his shop’s signature salad.
Other shoppers have even sounded off on social media about the apparent shortage.
hi hello is there an arugula shortage?? I haven’t been able to find any for weeks?? ? ? ? not even at the farmers market ? ? please advise
— Anna Kate 🌸✨ (@AnnaKateHart) January 27, 2020
So…umm…Is anyone else noticing the arugula shortage in NYC?
— Megan (@MegSkuf) January 25, 2020
I know there’s a lot going on in the world and this is petty but the great arugula shortage of January 2020 is getting me down.
— Lisa Church 🗽 (@lmc) January 27, 2020
Why isn’t anyone in Southern California addressing the arugula shortage?! I need answers
— Liv Cain (@_oliviacain) January 26, 2020
Trevor Suslow, an extension research specialist at the University of California, Davis told the New Food Economy that any mildew-infected arugula is vulnerable to “secondary spoilage.” Even after farmers package and ship the greens, Suslow explained that bacteria and mold “can grow even under refrigeration temperatures,” making it difficult for any greens to arrive at stores at peak freshness.
With a bulk of producers in the Southwest and Florida that grow the cruciferous vegetable this time of year, many regions have felt the impact in their rocket supply chain.
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