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The bitter truth: The arugula shortage is real, but here’s where you can find it in Austin

Addie Broyles
Arugula has been difficult, if not impossible, to find at grocery stores around the country for several weeks now. No word from those stores about when arugula will be back, but plenty of local farms are selling it at the farmers market and at local farmstands. [Addie Broyles/American-Statesman]

It’s been a difficult few weeks for arugula fans.

The popular bitter green known as rocket outside the U.S. is usually a staple at grocery stores and restaurants, but for several weeks, bags of arugula have been almost impossible to find, from Texas to Seattle to Chicago and New York City.

I’ve heard from several Austinites who have been stopping by numerous stores specifically to buy arugula but end up leaving empty handed.

An H-E-B spokesperson said that the current supply is coming from Arizona, where growers have had “prolonged cool wet weather that damaged some of the crop.” Central Texas stores are still receiving some product in each day packaged in bags and plastic boxes, but the produce section usually runs out fairly quickly.

But the good news is that local farms are overflowing with arugula, which means restaurants that source from local farms haven’t seen any disruption in supply.

Home consumers can turn to the local farmers markets and farmstands, where all kinds of winter greens are available at the moment.

Eden East farmer David Barrow said that he has plenty of arugula at his East Austin farmstand, which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Boggy Creek Farm, whose farmstand is open Wednesday through Saturday mornings, also had arugula this week. Johnson’s Backyard Garden customers found arugula in their community-supported agriculture boxes this week. Farmhouse Delivery carries arugula from Animal Farm in Cat Spring.

It’s a good reminder that the food supply chain is not always as reliable as we might think it is or should be and that just because a product isn’t available nationally doesn’t mean it’s not available from a local source.