National arugula shortage affects Bay Area shoppers

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
National arugula shortage affects Bay Area shoppers
Bay Area shoppers are having a hard time finding arugula in their local grocery stores, a national shortage affecting the U.S.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- There seems to be a race for arugula in the Bay Area and across the country as stores and restaurants either don't have it or don't have what little they have, for long.

Alameda's Encinal Market owner Joe Trimble says he had some bulk arugula last week but they're now gone.

"My understanding is that there is an issue with the weather and mold in the fields," he said.

According to the New Food Economy, there is a national shortage of arugulas, caused by the "unexpectedly cold and wet winter weather facing growers throughout the Southwest."

The article also states that the conditions have "paved the way for the spread of a fungal disease called downy mildew," making it hard for growers to produce healthy crops.

This week, Trimble did manage to find a few containers of baby arugula, imported from Mexico.

"It's only what's available but it's spotty," said Trimble. "That's what we'll take. We'll contact half a dozen vendors on a daily basis to get what we have."

Nate Bradley owns Amphora in Lafayette, which sells gourmet cooking products, including a vast arrray of olive oils. He also does some special events featuring his signature Nate's Salad, made with baby arugula.

This image shows a photo of Amphora
This image shows a photo of Amphora's Nate's Salad recipe from Jan. 27, 2020.

"Safeway didn't have it, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's didn't have it locally," said Bradley. "When we didn't have it, we tried to find a replacement with baby kale, but it just wasn't the same."

ABC7News contacted the California Department of Agriculture, but a spokesman did not have any immediate information about what shoppers are seeing in their local stores and restaurants.

Although the reason behind the shortage may be weather related, but not everyone is buying that theory.

One shopper had a rather light-hearted approach.

"I think the reason for that is they've been selling baby arugula for so many years that it never had a chance to grow up," said Teresa Weyland of Alameda with a wink and a smile. "So if there's shortage, it's the people who ate the baby arugula."