Andy Nelson, Markets Editor
Andy Nelson, Markets Editor

It’s always amusing, while talking with California grower-shippers between the months of November and March, to hear them complain — or, more often, mock-complain — about the North Pole weather they’re dealing with.

“North Pole” in these instances may mean, oh, 43 degrees. Maybe 37 at the low end.

The Golden State has the weather, and it’s one of the main reasons it also has all the fruits and vegetables. We here in the middle of the country, meanwhile, need to pack on the protein to get us through our cold, dark months.

It was with a fair amount of disbelief, therefore, that I heard about a recent report from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals concerning The Packer’s hometown of Kansas City.

You think of PETA as being more of a California-type institution than a K.C. one. After all, with all due respect to Memphis, Texas and Carolina, we are the Kings of Barbecue.

We’re also not called Cowtown for nothing.

Nevertheless, according to PETA, Arrowhead Stadium, home of our beloved Chiefs (did you hear they’re headed to the playoffs?), is the second-most vegetarian-friendly NFL stadium.

Now, if you watch the Chiefs on TV, it doesn’t take too many panning crowd shots to figure out that if the stadium is full of vegetarians, it’s only because they count hops as one of their 5 to 20 or 25 a day.

Still, the gameday menu at Arrowhead doesn’t lie. There are veggie dogs, veggie burgers and even a spicy vegan twist on an old meaty favorite — the Sloppy Jane.

It kind of defies belief, until you look at who beat Kansas City out for the No. 1 spot on PETA’s list: Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

That’s right, Philly — as in Philly Cheese STEAK.

At Lincoln Financial, if you’re not in the mood for one of those meaty delights, you can get a vegetarian hoagie, a faux-steak sandwich or a veggie dog, among other options PETA characterized as “exceptional.”

To be fair, California, no doubt home to more vegetarians than any other state — or maybe any another five states combined — also was represented on PETA’s NFL list — by two of the Chiefs’ divisional rivals, interestingly enough.

The Raiders’ Coliseum garnered the No. 3 spot with its meat-free chili and vegan chocolate fondue. And the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium, home to what I’m guessing is the NFL’s only portabella carpaccio sandwich, finished fifth.

(The Detroit Lions’ Ford Field, another head-scratcher, came in No. 4 on the list, compliments of its grilled veggie wrap and meat-free barbecue sandwich.)

So California growers, here’s a New Year’s resolution for you: Once you’re done complaining about the 45-degree Ice Ages you’re enduring, get on the horn to your foodservice customers and talk up Arrowhead: the vegetarian’s paradise.

Not to mention the home of a football team that’s headed to the playoffs. Or did I already mention that?

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