Attacking Obama, Beck's newsletter falsely claimed arugula is not grown in Iowa

››› ››› NIKI JAGPAL

After recounting how Sen. Barack Obama reportedly asked an audience of Iowa farmers how much Whole Foods charges for arugula, a recent Glenn Beck email newsletter asserted that "[i]t would have been a total home run for the Senator if it weren't for the fact that there are no Whole Foods stores in Iowa and arugula is not even grown in the state." In fact, arugula is grown in Iowa and is widely available in stores throughout the state.

In a section headlined "The Arugula Moment," the August 23 edition of Glenn Beck's daily email newsletter stated that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "was in Iowa talking to some farmers and tried on some of his 'relating to farm people' material. 'Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?' the Senator said. 'I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff.' " The newsletter linked to a recent Newsweek article describing the incident and went on to assert, "It would have been a total home run for the Senator if it weren't for the fact that there are no Whole Foods stores in Iowa and arugula is not even grown in the state."

In fact, arugula is grown by local farms in Iowa and is widely available in stores throughout the state, including Cleverly Farms in Mingo, Iowa, and Mariposa Farms in Grinnell, Iowa. Moreover, vendors at numerous farmers markets, including the Davenport Farmer's Market and the Ames Farmers' Market, sell arugula directly from farms to consumers. Several Iowa grocery stores also carry arugula; the website of Hy-Vee, a large grocery chain headquartered in, and with four stores in, West Des Moines, Iowa -- approximately 22 miles from Adel, Iowa, where Obama made his arugula remark -- offers tips on cleaning and serving arugula, as well as several recipes featuring it.

Furthermore, a Media Matters for America search of the Nexis database returned several articles from The Des Moines Register that reported the production and use of arugula in Iowa.

  • In a June 25, 2003, article, staff writer Raquel Garza quoted small produce grower John Whitson describing one of his products as "a mix of gourmet greens, arugula, red mustard, purple kohlrabi."
  • In a June 1, 2004, article, staff writer John Gaps III reported on the Ankeny Farmers Market: "Just remember: Saturday, farmers market, Uptown Ankeny, vendors, entertainment, clowns, balloons, arugula. You get the idea."
  • In a March 8, 2006, article, staff writer Erin Crawford reported that "SalAmander Farms in Bondurant" hosts "up to 50 varieties of vegetables, including arugula, okra, red carrots, purple cauliflowers, multicolored potatoes and snow peas."
  • In a May 23, 2006, article, staff writer Anne Fitzgerald reported: "Angela Tedesco, owner of Turtle Farm near Granger, made her first delivery this year of fresh produce to her Community Supported Agriculture subscribers last week. Members received spinach, green garlic, radishes, arugula and asparagus. There was so much spinach, it took two days to harvest it all, Tedesco said."
  • In a June 8, 2006, article, staff writer Amanda Pierre reported on a local chef's use of arugula from a local farmers market: "His intention is to use as many local foods as possible, so some ingredients, such as the arugula for the salad, came from that day's farmers market."

As Media Matters noted, CNN's Candy Crowley suggested soon after the 2004 election that Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (MA) was out of touch with "most of America" because he ordered green tea in Iowa, when, in fact, green tea could be purchased at many locations in Iowa, including the Dubuque Kmart.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Glenn Beck
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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