We reached out to the USDA to find out if the rumors were true and how the arugula shortage will affect consumers.

Lauren Wicks
January 30, 2020

Chances are you've heard rumors of an arugula shortage—especially if you live in a big city like New York or L.A. A Reddit thread called "The Great Arugula Shortage of January 2020" was started by a New Yorker about three weeks ago, and other social media users have reported seeing sky-high prices—or no peppery greens at all—in their local grocery stores.

We reached out to the USDA to find out exactly what's going on, and a spokesperson for the organization told us there is a slight shortage in most markets. It appears the shortage is due to poor weather conditions in the Southwest U.S. The cold, wet growing conditions are causing arugula crops to mildew, according to a report from ABC News, but supply from Texas and certain areas in California and Florida that haven't been as affected by the harsh growing conditions are helping to fill in the gap. Here's what you can expect in your area:

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Atlanta

Atlanta has been receiving approximately half the volume of arugula than normal for the last few weeks. Supplies are expected to return to normal within the next six to nine days.

Boston

Adél Békefi/Getty Images

East coast-grown arugula has been in short supply over the last two weeks, but is fully available at this time. Arugula grown in Florida and California is also available—you just might have to pay a higher price than normal.

Chicago

Chicago started experiencing an arugula shortage at the beginning of the month, but prices have stayed the same. Some wholesalers are getting as low as 25% of their usual volume of arugula, and none of it is organic. It will likely take a few weeks to get back to 80-100% of the usual volume back in stores.

Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is being hit hard by the arugula shortage. One of the city's largest wholesalers told the USDA that there would likely be no arugula on the market for at least two weeks.

Dallas

Arugula is present in a few produce houses, but it may be pricier than normal.

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Detroit

Dallas is also experiencing a severe arugula shortage. Only two stores in the city are currently carrying arugula, and it is being sourced from Texas.

Los Angeles

Arugula availability has been sporadic for three to four weeks, and it has been selling for $5-$7 per pound. There have also been undesirable weather conditions across California, which is affecting local grocers.

Miami

Miami's main arugula wholesaler has experienced shortages for the last two weeks, but local growers have indicated that more arugula is coming in the next two weeks.

New York

New York has been short on arugula for about two weeks, and Hunts Point Market, one of the major produce houses, only has about one-third of its usual amount. Additional product is expected to arrive next week, as well as a higher demand for arugula.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia is only experiencing a slight shortage and prices have stayed pretty consistent since the beginning of January, but the demand is high in this area.

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