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America’s Favorite Salad Green May Soon Be In Short Supply

Texas growers reduced planted spinach acres due to pandemic effects.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Mura Dominko
Spinach and feta salad

Americans love their salad bowls, layered on a bed of lettuces and other leafy greens. Unfortunately, we may soon face a shortage of a ubiquitous, nutrition-packed salad ingredient: Spinach.

Spinach growers in Texas reported a reduction in the number of acres of spinach they were able to grow this season due to COVID-19, according to AgriLife Today. Texas, along with California, Arizona, and New Jersey, accounts for the production of about 98% of the commercial fresh market spinach in the U.S, per the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center. The Lone Star State typically grows around 3,000 acres of spinach, and produces three different varieties—baby leaf, larger leaf, and curly spinach. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)

The growers in Texas were forced to reduce their planted spinach acres by about 10% this year in anticipation of a dwindling demand from restaurants. "The big buyers are buying, but spinach is not in super high demand like it could be," horticulturist Larry Stein told AgriLife Today.

On the bright side, the spinach that does end up in stores in 2021 will be of premium quality. Farmers reported excellent growing conditions this season, despite the reduction in acreage. The top-notch crop is the result of ideal weather conditions and few pest and disease issues during the current spinach harvest, which started in November and will end in April.

So while you may see less spinach in your local restaurants and on supermarket shelves, when you do come across the leafy green, it'll look robust and taste great. And if you have trouble finding spinach, you can always go for these nutritious alternatives.

For more on grocery shortages, check out Grocery Shortages To Expect in 2021, According to Experts, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.

Urvija Banerji
Urvija Banerji has written about food for publications like Atlas Obscura, Eater, and The Swaddle. Read more
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