Kale’s extreme popularity leads to worldwide shortage

Sophie Ho, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON — If you’re looking to start a green juice cleanse this weekend or eager to get your fix of kale, you might want to reconsider: ABC Landline reports that there may be a worldwide shortage of kale due to the powerhouse vegetable’s skyrocketing popularity.

Netherlands-based Bejo Seeds, a major kale seed supplier, says it has run out of every type of the vegetable.

“You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it’s just one of those things that’s happened on a global basis,” Tony Hubbard from Bejo Seeds told ABC.

Kale, part of the cabbage family, is one of the healthiest vegetables and stocked with vitamins — making it a popular ingredient in smoothies, cleanses and juices that so-called hipsters and celebrities have raved about.

The superfood’s popularity has been astonishing, according to Hubbard, and farmers have struggled to keep up with the demand.

In Australia, kale growers Deborah and Darren Corrigan went from planting 1,500 seedlings a few years ago to planting 150,000 seedlings each week at their farm. They sell their produce to major supermarkets, including Coles Fresh Produce.

“Kale’s been around for three years and for a product to be growing at this rate after that amount of time I think is almost unprecedented,” says Brad Gorman, who runs the Coles Fresh Produce division, to ABC.

Bejo Seeds says it hopes more seeds will be ready by September or October. Until then, consider rationing your kale intake, or at least slow down your juice cleanses.

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