You are here:

“I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eats me Spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man!”

Popeye Theme Song Lyric


The man. The myth. The legend. There was nothing Popeye couldn’t do. He was strong, courageous, persistent and consistent. To what did he owe his strength? Spinach. The reputation of the leafy green has never lost its touch since the 1920s character made eating your greens “cool.” In fact, many people credit the popularity of spinach today because of the comedy sitcom that never seemed to get old.


Have time for a quick story? Great. We found out why spinach became so popular through the character Popeye – and it was all by a mishap that was nearly missed! It started back in 1870 when Erich von Wolf was documenting the exact amount of iron in spinach. Although his findings were indeed accurate, he made a simple error – forgot a decimal point! It is said that while Wolf intended to write down in his notes that spinach has 3.5 milligrams of iron per 100-gram servings, he forgot to put the decimal point and made it out to 35 milligrams! Perhaps the decimal was there in the notes but too small to decipher? How did he not catch this mistake in his life? Or did he?

The mistake was not caught and changed until SEVENTY years later in 1937! For seventy years, people believed spinach had 35 milligrams per 100-gram serving. Simply mind-blowing! You can imagine how Popeye’s’ character ran with this notion, making spinach the ultimate nourishment for strength and nutrition. This small mistake made history and lives on through the story of Popeye himself – yet not many know of the mistake that led to the whirlwind of spinach’s reputation today. The mere fact stands, “Popeye helped increase American consumption of Spinach by a third!” according to author Samuel Arbesman.


Now let’s dig deeper into the accuracy side of spinach. Does the leafy green really live up to the PR-instilled hype? You betcha. There’s no way around it – the iron in spinach is the most notable, but the low calories, Vitamin C and A don’t hurt either. Spinach thrives in colder weather, and the nutritional properties are the most potent when the spinach is fresh. Half of the nutrients are lost in a week after being picked! It does make sense – leafy greens are best served as fresh as possible, which is why there is such a science of getting them to the consumer as fast as possible. “The Persian Green” grows in different varieties, and has an entire day dedicated to its existence – March 26th – mark your calendars people! The three main varieties are categorized as Savoy: curly, deep dark green leaves, Semi-Savoy: less curly but still dark green, and Flat/Smooth, it’s most common form.


We’re proud to know California is the United States’ #1 grower and supplier of spinach, although in terms of global production it only produces 3%, with China coming in at #1 globally with 85% of output around the world.

People consume spinach both raw and cooked. Adding a handful of spinach to your salad among other greens, into your smoothie, or adding a few leaves into your sandwich can be the perfect garnish to intake your leafy greens. Some people enjoy sautéed spinach – try sautéing a hefty amount of Spinach in a pan with coconut oil and lemon juice with a pinch of garlic salt – the perfect side of greens to any dish.


We’ll leave you with some interesting facts about Spinach that we stumbled upon – check these out for a little encouragement next time you see a bag of fresh spinach at the store! Spinach is known to offset harmful cancer carcinogens, studies have found a direct link to eating spinach prior to a workout and seeing a difference in the body’s overall performance, and it also can work to reduce overall hunger throughout your day.


Nuff’ said!

Western Veg-Produce, Inc.
PO Box 82217
Bakersfield, CA 93380

Office: 1-800-WVegPro (983-4776)
Fax: 1-661-637-2365
Sales: sales@wvegpro.com
Accounting: accounting@wvegpro.com