Celery planting starts at the end of February with harvesting (depending on the weather) starting in early June and finishing in early November. At its quickest growing rate celery takes just 11 weeks from planting to mature into a crop ready for harvest.
Celery is still all harvested by hand in the open field using a special shaped knife. Celery is cut, selected and packed in the field on purpose-built mobile packhouses called ‘rigs’. The finished product is then brought back from the field to the farm centre within a target time of 3 hours after which it is kept in temperature-controlled conditions for maximum freshness until it reaches the supermarket depot about a day later.
Cooking and eating
You will find three main types of celery product for sale:
- Whole head – outer stalks and leaf tops removed. Use the outer stems for cooking and the more tender, inner stalks for eating raw.
- Hearts – more of the outer stalks have been removed, so there is less waste.
- Sticks – celery sticks, pre washed and ready to eat.
Nutritious celery is a wonderfully healthy snack – the perfect partner for dips and cheese – and is great for adding a satisfying crunch to salads too, but did you know it’s also a brilliant cooking ingredient? The stalks can be boiled, steamed, braised, baked and cooked in the microwave to make a make a deliciously refreshing side dish, while the leaves are ideal for seasoning soups and stews. Celery also helps create a wonderful base flavour for soups, casseroles, warm salads and more.