Despite abnormal weather in the Salinas valley that has affected the production of other vegetables grown in the area, kale production remains steady. The hardy nature of the plant has led to steady prices.
“Kale is a resilient vegetable,” noted Mark McBride of Coastline Produce. “It has a waxy skin, so it's much more resistant to temperature fluctuations than something more delicate, like spinach, that might get hit harder.” With no issues on the supply side, the demand part of the market has also remained uneventful. While kale's prominence has gotten bigger as consumers discover its health benefits, and while it's been tagged with the super-food label by some, an increase in demand commensurate with its higher profile has not materialized.
“I keep hearing all of the wonderful health benefits of kale, but I personally haven't seen a great amount of demand which I'd like to see to bring the open market up,” said Jeff Crook of Church Brothers. “So volume has been pretty steady because we haven't kicked up our acreage, and we haven't increased acreage because we haven't felt the need to.” With both supplies and demand stable, the market has not fluctuated. Prices for a carton of kale last week ranged from between $8.00 and $12.00.