We Could Soon Be Facing a Worldwide Kale Shortage

In Depth

Fans of green juice might soon have to figure out another green thing aside from kale to use for their juice cleanses. I recommend absinthe, paris green arsenic, or that mutagenic ooze from Ninja Turtles.

Modern Farmer is reporting that Bejo Seeds in Australia, one of the biggest kale seed suppliers in the world, has apparently run out of kale seeds. We’ve had scares before that turned out to be nothing, and there’s no guarantee this could actually have a significant global effect, as Bejo Seeds primarily supplies the Australian market. What makes this different from previous scares, though, is what’s causing it.

As GrubStreet notes, what’s interesting about this particular shortage as compared to previous ones like guacamole, wild salmon, or bacon is that it has nothing to do with changes to season or climate. Kale is generally a year-round crop — we’re just eating so damn much of it lately that we’re overcoming even the vast amounts that are now being grown. Kale production has skyrocketed in the last two decades, even causing some farmers to abandon crops like red cabbage and leeks in favor of the far more lucrative kale. As quoted in Modern Farmer:

“We probably only planted probably 3,000 or 4,000 plants a season,” said Steve Brunyen, the farm’s proprietor, to The Daily Mail. “Now we’re up to about 25,000 plants. I still haven’t had enough.” Over in Clyde, another Melbourne suburb, Deborah and Darren Corrigan plant 150,000 seedlings every week, and are one of the country’s main kale growers.

Pest issues and disease problems hit farms hard, but they’re also not usually as potentially devastating in the long-term as over-consumption, and it’s not hard to see this having a ripple effect on other kale markets.

Maybe we should just eat some brussels sprouts or broccoli for a while? I mean, I know they don’t work as well in a juice cleanse, but maybe you could not juice cleanse, because they’re fucking dumb? Just a thought.

Image via Lecic/Shutterstock.

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