Celery is a food that is used to prepare a number of dishes.
Chances are, if you are eating any kind of soup or stew, there is a certain amount of celery in it.
Celery has always been known as one of the more affordable vegetables on the market.
However, in the last few years, the pricing has really started to increase.
If you are wondering why your trusty affordable celery is going up in price, we will fill you in.
Here are ten reasons celery is so expensive.
Why Is Celery So Expensive?
1. Low Calorie Food
Have you ever noticed that, when things are healthy for you, the pricing automatically increases?
People like to eat things that are lower in calories because they will help them lose weight.
Celery is a low-calorie food that will certainly help you consume fewer calories in a day.
Think about eating crackers or chips and dipping them into a dip or sauce.
Now replace the crackers or chips with celery.
At around 10 calories per stalk, celery is a very healthy alternative to some of the other foods people eat.
Many people like to eat a snack of celery with peanut butter on it.
These two tastes combine very well together, and the celery as the base hardly adds any calories to the overall snack.
The fact that celery is not going to cause you to gain weight is a major reason it is getting more expensive.
The lower calorie foods tend to increase in price as soon as they become popular, and people realize they are a good alternative for high calorie foods.
2. Limited Growing Areas
Celery needs to grow where it is warm and relatively dry.
There are a few problems that come up with crops which have limited growing areas.
Not only are these plants subject to the weather and conditions in this area, but they are also going to need to be shipped greater distances.
If you live on the east coast and it is wintertime, your celery will be shipped from California.
This is a long way for the product to travel, and celery will wilt after a few days.
It must stay in a temperature-controlled environment in order to make it to the next destination.
These limited growing areas lead to a limited supply of celery as well.
The combination of these factors is undoubtedly going to increase the price.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find locally grown celery at certain times of the year.
This celery is going to be lower in price most of the time because it does not need to be shipped as far.
You can expect that the locally grown celery is going to taste a bit better as well.
It may look a little smaller, but it will have a more natural taste.
Rain is a major factor for the areas where celery is most commonly grown.
The majority of the celery we eat was grown in California.
If California has a rainy season, the celery production is going to be slower, and the product will not be as sellable as it is during a dry season.
Of course, celery needs a certain amount of rain in order to grow, but it is not quite like other crops that thrive in the rain.
A few years back, the season was so rainy that the celery production was way down, and the pricing of celery started to skyrocket.
The cold is another factor that becomes a problem with celery.
When the celery plant is young, it is very weak.
These weaker plants are going to be damaged and potentially die if there is a later frost.
Farmers have to carefully balance the time they plant celery with the time the demand for celery will be at its highest.
It is undoubtedly a risk to plant everything too soon and potentially lose it because of a frost.
Keep in mind that, if celery could grow in many different climates, this would be an easier issue to manage.
With the limited growing areas and the plant’s sensitivity to rain, it is hard to produce celery for a cheap price.
4. Cut Back on Previous Supply
At the end of a growing season, farmers will analyze how well their product did.
If there are issues with the product or the supply chain, they will analyze those and adjust.
One of the things farmers are finding at the moment is that they are not making as much money on celery as they did in years past.
After careful analysis of the numbers, the profit margins continue to get smaller.
One of the ways a farmer will adjust to this is by cutting back on the supply of the previous year.
If you are a farmer and celery is not making you as much as other fruits or vegetables, you will cut down on the amount of land allocated for that crop.
This makes quite a bit of sense from a business perspective.
If something is not producing high revenue, it needs to go and be replaced by something that does.
Cutting back on the supply of previous years has caused the pricing of celery to get quite a bit higher.
5. Celery Juicing Craze
One thing many farmers and celery producers did not see coming was the celery juicing craze.
Celery juicing was written about in a self-help book that quickly became a best seller.
There were talks about how celery is essentially a superfood and able to help with many different ailments and issues a person could suffer with.
Some people have had quite a bit of success with this celery juicing, and others feel as though it has not impacted them at all.
The celery juicing craze really came out of nowhere, and it took the world of celery production by surprise.
Most people went from using celery as a base to start a soup to drinking large amounts of it every morning.
Celery is a very easy food to add to a smoothie or shake.
It blends and juices quite easily.
Celery is made up of about 90% water, so it has high liquid content which helps people get the fluids they need in a day as well.
The celery juicing craze opened the eyes of many about the potential benefits celery can provide to us as humans.
As we mentioned, the celery juicing craze was built around the idea that celery is very healthy.
The fact that it is made up of mostly water helps to add to this fact as well.
Celery has not always been thought of as being a superfood, and some critics of the celery juice diet will argue that it is not a superfood.
However, when the celery juice craze started, people said they started noticing a bit of difference when it comes to some chronic health issues.
Those suffering from eczema, bloating, acid reflux, and pain said that the celery juicing was helping them to feel better.
As with any of these medical claims, they need to be tested by an individual person to see what the impacts are.
It can be hard to tell if it is the celery that is helping or if the person has eliminated something else from their diet.
For instance, if you were eating a pound of bacon for breakfast and replaced this with celery, you would probably feel quite a bit better.
The lower calories and fat would help lead to your overall health.
It is hard to prove that celery is a healer, but it is still a nice benefit to think that this could be something which could help with an ailment.
When celery is picked at a farm, it has to make its way to your local grocery store.
If you have ever seen celery when it gets warm, you know that the shipping costs of celery will include refrigeration because celery needs to be shipped cold.
If the product starts to get warm, it will wilt, and people will not purchase it.
If you have ever cooked with celery that is a bit wilted, you know that it performs just fine in a recipe.
However, to sell in a grocery store, the celery needs to be crunchy and full.
Otherwise, people will think that the vegetable has gone bad, so they will stay away from it.
Shipping is expensive, but when you add the cost of cold shipping, the price is going to be even higher.
There is not much you can do about this when you are shopping for celery.
The only way to avoid shipping costs would be to purchase locally.
Local farmers who are selling products can sometimes reduce the price a bit because they don’t have to worry about shipping.
8. Short Growing Season in Most Areas
Even in the areas where celery is known to grow without issues, the growing season is quite short.
For instance, in many northern states, celery can only grow in the summer months.
The celery needs to be planted at exactly the right time, and something like a late frost could take out the entire crop.
You will have to make sure you plant celery at the optimal time and pick it at the optimal time as well.
Celery is not the hardest vegetable to grow, but it certainly takes some attention and some care to be able to produce correctly.
This shorter growing season makes it difficult for local or seasonal farmers to compete.
Investing in a crop only to get a frost a few days later than expected will be a costly mistake and very bad for the business of the farmer.
The short growing season will certainly have an impact on the pricing of celery.
If a farmer or a supplier is able to produce a great crop in this short period of time, you will end up having to pay a good amount for it.
If things keep heading the way they are, you will be happy to get the celery that you get.
9. Slow Grower
When celery first starts out, it is a slow grower.
From the time it is first planted to the time it gets a little more hardy, you are going to have a very fragile young plant.
The chances of something happening to the celery during this initial growing period is relatively high.
A farmer will have to pay close attention to the product to ensure that nothing bad happens to the plant.
A simple mistake or problem that happens early on could lead to the plant not surviving to maturity.
Not only will this be a waste of time for the farmer, but it is a waste of money as well.
The slower growth in the beginning is also a reason many individuals forgo growing their own celery.
Since the young plant needs a lot of attention, it is not a good mix for all gardeners.
Once you get past the early stages, things get easier.
However, this first part of the process is part of what makes the price of celery so high at the current moment.
10. Keeping Pests Away
When you see something that is organic in a store, you know that chemicals were not used to produce this product.
The lack of chemicals used helps to make the food safer and healthier overall.
The problem is that, without the use of chemicals, it can be very hard to grow the plant properly.
The plants that are not treated with pesticides are very likely to have issues with pest infestation.
Farmers have to come up with natural methods to keep the plants safe and keep people safe from harmful chemicals as well.
You will see that organic celery is even more expensive than standard celery.
Regular celery that is not organic will still have to be treated with some type of pest control.
Celery is a plant that is appealing to fleas, beetles, slugs, and snails.
To protect the celery from being eaten by these pests, it needs to be treated with the proper pesticides, fertilizer, and the proper soil as well.
Sometimes putting a barrier between the soil and the plant will help to keep the bug population down.
Although some of these processes are very effective, they also cost money.
Keeping pests away from the food we eat will cost money.
Celery was not always an expensive food.
The pricing has continued to go up as the demand increases and the supply decreases.
If you enjoy celery and live in a warm area, you may want to try growing some of your own.
If you do not want to plant celery, you can keep an eye out for sales.
Also, make sure you don’t purchase organic if you are trying to save money.
Although organic products can sometimes be better for you, they come at a much higher price for most people.
Hopefully, you will still be able to keep celery as a part of your diet because the health benefits will be worth it.