Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA
Arugula is one of those crossover crops that went from niche to mainstream. It found a fanatical following back in the late 90’s when it was the mark of distinction for artisanal farmers, and a symbol of enlightened eating among foodies. Over time it made its way beyond the epicurean elites and into the aisles of Safeway and Trader Joe’s. Now it’s rare for a different reason – climate change. Colder and wetter winter growing conditions in the Southwest have given rise to a fungal disease called downy mildew, and it has hit arugula plantings hard. Yellow lesions show up on infected plants and spreads rapidly, knocking out entire harvests.
If you have an opportunity to fill this market gap, here’s the the SPIN numbers for benchmarking arugula:
>> Pricing benchmark: $10/lb.
>> Yield/ bed: 10 lbs. (based on 2 cuts)
>> Revenue target/bed: $100
>> Yield/segment: 130 lbs.
>> Revenue target/segment: $1.3k
Arugula has always been a high value crop if you had the market for it, and shortages give those who can supply it even more pricing power. Now that weather volatility is starting to cause disruptions at market, climate change is something SPIN farmers can bank on.
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