In the World

Nationwide Arugula Shortage Highlights the Demand for More Indoor Grown Produce

January 31, 2020

Loved for its fragrant and peppery taste, arugula’s rise to popularity over the past few decades unlocked year-round demand in the US, where consumers expect to find their favorite green at the grocery store every day of the year.

But this past week, our seasonally agnostic palates experienced a reality check when we arrived at the grocery store to uncover that nationwide, arugula was out of stock. And no, there wasn’t more in the back either. 

What happened?

Arugula is typically grown in the spring and early summer months, so to cover demands in the colder months, the majority of the US supply comes from the desert Southwest and Florida, where it’s still warm enough to produce winter leafy greens outdoors. Unfortunately, farmers in the Southwest are experiencing an unexpectedly colder and wet winter growing season, resulting in the spread of a fungal disease called downy mildew. Farmers in Florida are attempting to cover demands, but there’s still not enough to service every customer.

As the news of the shortage spread, an all-too-familiar narrative surfaced — one that calls out a link between climate change and the future state of our food supply. With more extreme and unpredictable weather events, there’s a need for more alternative growing practices (such as indoor farming) to keep up with the demands of a growing global population. At Bowery, our indoor farms enable us to control the conditions for each and every green 24/7. This also means we can produce crops year-round and aren’t vulnerable to unexpected and fluctuating weather events.

Is Bowery helping cover the arugula shortage?

At this time, we are responding to increased demands from customers in the Tri-state area and hoping to deliver as much arugula as possible! Our thoughts are with the Southwest farmers impacted at this time.