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A Serious Arugula Shortage Is Spoiling America's Lunch Plans

Romaine lettuce has garnered something of a bad reputation for its repeated links to E. coli outbreaks, but for once, a different leafy green is making a stink in the produce world. America is in the midst of an arugula shortage

A combo of wet and cold weather throughout the American Southwest has plagued arugula crops with a deadly fungal disease, known as downy mildew, The Counter reports. Arizona is experiencing the largest impact, but the shortage spans the coasts -- lunch plans in New York, the Bay Area, and Texas have all been impacted by the sudden lack of arugula. 

"We definitely haven’t been harvesting much the last couple of weeks," Chief Agricultural Officer of Arizona-based produce company JV Smith, Matt McGuire, told the outlet. "In the desert Southwest, we’re supposed to be dry. We usually don’t get rain much, even in the wintertime. But through a part of November and December, we were having storms dropping anywhere from a quarter to an inch of water every seven to 10 days." 

Here's the cold, hard evidence: 

While Florida is also grappling with similar climate-related issues, the state is, at least in part, stepping in to help. "We shouldn’t be having any rain right now, it’s considered the dry season," co-owner of Satur Farms Eberhard Mueller said, per the report. 

Of course, this doesn't mean that you won't be able to find arugula at your local grocery store right now -- supplies will likely vary from region to region. So if you are able to get your hands on these deliciously bitter greens, count yourself lucky. If you aren't, well, you can always resort to your old friends, spinach and kale. 

h/t Food & Wine


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 Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her @MegSchaltegger.