Cost of celery spikes amid juice benefit claims, poor weather conditions

In April 2018, customers could expect to pay $3.00 for a kilogram of celery

A fad diet promoting the healing properties of celery and bad weather in important growing regions have caused a spike in prices for the vegetable.

“It’s pretty clear that celery is more expensive right now than it is usually,” said Mike von Massow, an associate professor at the University of Guelph.

In April 2018, customers could expect to pay $3.00 for a kilogram of celery, according to Statistics Canada. The agency stopped tracking the price of the vegetable the following month. In the most recent years for which data is available, the price mostly hovered around the $3-mark — save for a couple spikes that pushed it upwards of $4.00.

Now, one major Canadian grocer is advertising celery stalks for $5.99 online. A two-pack of celery hearts costs $6.99, while celery root runs $11 per kilogram.

Fresh vegetables, including celery, have been seeing big price increases lately. Shoppers paid 15.5 per cent more for fresh vegetables in March 2019 than they did the previous March, according to Statistics Canada. The jumps for December, January and February were also in the double digits.

“We’re seeing shortages of celery because of weather conditions in California,” said von Massow. “That will lead to an increase in price”

Celery-producing regions of the state have seen heavy rain, he said.

The Oxnard, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., regions produce a significant proportion of the celery Canada imports, wrote Statistics Canada spokesperson Emily Theelen, in an email.

They “have experienced unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy rainfall over the past few months,” she said.

RELATED: Hail Caesar, the Classic Cocktail

Too much rain at the wrong time can lead to problems, like diseases and quality issues, said von Massow.

It doesn’t help that celery is a small-volume crop with production only in a few places, he said, meaning it’s more susceptible to production issues impacting supply.

Compounding the weather issue is a recent rise in demand that seems to be coming from a number of social media personalities promoting the health benefits of celery juice, including self-proclaimed medical medium Anthony William, said von Massow.

William claims to have started extolling the benefits of drinking the one-ingredient juice on an empty stomach since 1975, when he was a child, according to his website. He claims the daily practice can clear skin, reduce bloating and aid weight loss, as well as heal people of different illnesses.

Von Massow stresses there is no science to suggest celery is a superfood.

The hashtag celery juice has been used more than 133,000 times on Instagram. Celery juice benefits and celery juice heals have both been used more than 10,000 times.

“That’s probably one of the reasons that we’re seeing this dramatic increase in the price of celery,” said von Massow.

“A change in demand can dramatically affect the supply and the price.”

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Woodworth purchased Summerland rink, created butcher operation

Giant’s Head Rink had been one of three facilities in Summerland

22nd annual Peachland World of Wheels show kicks off May long weekend

Sunday will 500 classic cars and over 10,000 attendees

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Most long-weekend rain has already fallen

A mix of sun and cloud is expected for the last two days of the the Victoria Day weekend.

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Martin receives award from Kin Club of South Okanagan

Dedicated volunteer worked to merge Kinsmen and Kinettes

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake in Kelowna

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read