Field to Plate

Celery {apium graveolans}

A bushy, mounded plant that grows wild in Europe, celery needs deep, fertile soil, plenty of water and sunshine as well as a long growing season complete with cool nights to grow into top tasting plants with a satisfying crunch. The rich, moist Fen soils of East Anglia are ideally suited for this task with G’s, the largest celery producer in Europe with over 60 years’ experience in growing this challenging crop, producing a total of 1,000 ha (the equivalent of 1,500 football fields) in the area.

Types of celery

Celery comes in a number of varieties in addition to the most well-known variety found in all supermarkets:

Traditional Celery

Traditional CeleryToday’s ‘apple-green’ celery, which is available year round, is a direct descendant from the traditional wide-row winter celery and varieties have been carefully selected to maintain the traditional taste. The modern product also has a better appearance and keeping qualities.

Fenland Celery

Fenland CeleryIn Victorian times winter celery, specially grown in the Fens for the Christmas market (usually available from mid-November to New Year’s Day, depending on the weather) was extremely popular.

It was grown in very wide rows as the black Fen soil had to be banked up around the celery to protect it from frost and ‘blanche’ it, which is how it came to be called ‘white’ celery.

This traditional method, which is very labour-intensive, gives the celery a unique ‘nutty-sweet’ taste. It has been revived in recent years by G's – visit our Fenland Celery site for more information.

Celericious

CelericiousUnique tasting Celericious is the result of over 8 years of innovation and development, carefully selected to give a sweeter celery with more crunch that’s perfect for snacking and salads.

 

Seasons

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.

Harvest and delivery

Celery is still all harvested by hand in the open field using a special shaped knife – cutting by machine just doesn’t give the same quality of product. G’s 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.

Celery Products

You will find three main types of celery product for sale:

Cooking, eating and preparation

Like all vegetables, celery is best eaten as fresh as possible, but should last for 1-2 weeks in the fridge depending on the time of year (longer in summer). To revive celery that’s gone a bit limp, trim a small amount off the root end and stand the sticks in lukewarm water for half an hour or so. The cut ends of celery can go a bit white – this is due to oxidisation of the cut cells and is a natural healing process. Just slice off the white bits and you’re good to go.

To prepare celery for cooking and eating, simply separate and wash the stalks and then:


And don’t forget, celery leaves, which are full of flavour, can be used like a herb in salads or as a garnish.

Guy Shropshire

Serving celery with style

Guy Shropshire, who founded G’s 60 years ago, is very particular about how to serve celery - he insists this is the best way to enjoy it!

First, remove a few of the outer stalks from a head of celery and reserve for stocks or soups. Trim the base into a point (like a pencil), being careful to keep as much of the white root as possible – many think that is the best bit. Wash carefully and then quarter the celery lengthways, making sure each quarter has its own section of root, and then stand in a celery vase or tall jug of cold water and serve at the end of the meal with a selection of Stilton (or other cheeses), salt, nuts, biscuits and bread. And don’t forget the port!