Celery, Apium graveolens, is a member of the Apiaceae family with carrots, cilantro, and parsley, and likely originated in the Mediterranean basin. It was reportedly brought to the United States in the mid-1800s.
Domestically, California leads production, though Michigan is often credited with having the first commercial production. Michigan is still a notable producer, along with Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Celery exports consistently outpace imports; both Canada and Asia are top destination markets.
Types & Varieties
Celery’s leafy stalks (petioles) can grow up to 24 inches. The green, long-stalked variety (also called ‘Pascal’) can come in blanched white or red coloring and is the most common, though celeriac (celery root) and leaf celery are also popular. Typically only the stalks are eaten, but roots and leaves can be consumed as well. For celeriac, although similar looking to celery, only the tuberous base or root is eaten.
Long-stalk varieties include Conquistador, Giant Pascal, Golden, Redventure, Tall Utah, Tango Green, and Ventura; celeriac types include Brilliant, Diament, Large Smooth Prague, Mentor, and Tellus; for celery leaf, there’s Par-Cel and Safir.
Celery is a cool season crop, sensitive to any temperature extremes. It is typically seeded 8 to 10 weeks before transplant into nutrient-rich soil. Transplants should have a few leaves and well-developed roots.
Once transplanted, celery should not be exposed to temperatures below 50°F to prevent bolting. Row covers can be used to protect from frost.
During harvest, a sharp blade will minimize abrasions, other types of damage, and decay. Celery should be stacked carefully to prevent injury.