( Photo by The Packer staff )

Celery isn’t the only high-priced, high-demand produce item on retail supermarket shelves, but the commodity’s enduring run of high f.o.b. prices is truly remarkable.

June 4 pricing for the vegetable was $68-72 per carton for conventional celery, while organic celery trading as high as $80 per carton. Prices have traded in the mid-$60s and above since mid-March.

Keep in mind that in early June last year, conventional celery was trading at a colorless $7.50-10 per carton. 

What gives?

For one thing, celery growers assuredly cut back on plantings after the pitifully poor price year in 2018. Good old supply and demand working their timeless magic.

On the demand side, there has been more than a little talk that part of the popularity of the vegetable is owed to Anthony William, author of the book “Medical Medium: Life Changing Foods.” 

William is a big fan of celery and celery juice, to put it mildly.

I just checked out the book from our local library, and let me first say that he also is a big fan of many and diverse produce commodities, devoting whole sections to apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, grapes, kiwis, lemons and limes, mangoes, melons, etc. 

He loves vegetables too, from artichokes to sweet potatoes and most everything in between.

But he is perhaps best known for his devotion to celery. From the book:

  • “(celery is) one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods”;
  • “consuming celery is the most powerful way to alkalize the gut”;
  • “While celery may seem like a bland, boring food, it is anything but ... it improves kidney function, helps restore adrenals....”

And so on. While William can’t point to chapter and verse of medical studies about celery benefits (his knowledge, he says, comes from a source he calls Spirit), he says his endorsements won’t wait on science.

“Are you supposed to go another 20 years suffering with stomach pains, not knowing that celery juice is the most amazing digestive tonic?” 

Obviously, of course not, you need these words now.

At $70 per carton for celery, the celery industry won’t argue that point.

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Do you have a collection of older pictures of farming, packing, wholesale markets, grocery stores or industry events? If you have those pictures in digital format, send a few of them to me by e-mail. I would love to consider your images for possible inclusion in The Packer’s 125th anniversary edition. 

Tom Karst is The Packer’s editor. E-mail him at tkarst@farmjournal.com.

Related content:
Celery still hot, buyers taking ‘what they can get’
Celery market strength could endure
Celery market soars as juicing trend expands

 
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