Kale’s Popularity Is Posing a Problem for Kale Growers

By Mike Pomranz |
KALE GETTING TOO BIG FOR ITS OWN GOOD FWX

© Rubberball/Duston Todd/Getty Images

Kale doesn’t grow on trees, guys. Literally. It grows from a seed. And thanks to the superfood’s increased popularity, getting those seeds has reportedly become both difficult and pricey.

Clearly looking to turn kale’s hip culinary status into news gold, CBS Money Watch decided to dig into the status of the current kale market. Though some experts believe that the leafy green’s popularity is starting to plateau, that doesn’t offer much solace to kale farmers who are still paying an arm and a leg to get their hands on those coveted kale seeds.

“Seed prices are through the roof,” New Jersey kale farmer Ryan Flaim told CBS. "The price has probably gone up 80 percent over the past three years." Wesley L. Kline, an agricultural extension agent also based in Jersey, agreed: “Seed companies are scrambling to meet demand.”

That said, though farmers are feeling the pinch, at least one consumer brand said as far as their needs are concerned, things are fine. “For a couple of years, if you didn't have the kale seeds, you were out of luck,” said Scott Jensen, CEO of kale-chip-maker Rhythm Superfoods. “There could be some suppliers that are out of it. Our suppliers have plenty of seeds.”

So though farmers might hate paying more for seeds, any sort of actual shortage on kale itself doesn’t appear to be an impending concern. It’s good news for that one restaurant that still hasn’t added kale to their menu.

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