Pests & Disease
Leafminers will lay eggs on celery and larvae create ‘winding mines’ through plants. Cabbage loopers lay eggs on leaves and larvae leave ragged, large holes when feeding. Other common pests include aphids, armyworms, beetles, cabbage worms, mites, carrot weevils, and whiteflies.
Anthracnose-leaf curl, a more recent introduction to U.S. crops, curls leaves and causes discoloration and lesions. Clearing debris can help limit the spread. Leaf blight emerges as isolated spots on leaves that turn into lesions.
Blackheart is a calcium and moisture deficiency that leads to discoloration and leaf death. Mosaic viruses, various types of rot (watery, basal stalk, pink, bacterial soft rot, etc.), fusarium, grey mold, rot knot, wilt, and powdery mildew can all also affect celery.
Storage & Packaging
Celery should be cooled (forced air, hydrocooled, or vacuum cooled) immediately after harvest to 32 and 36°F with high relative humidity.
At cold temperatures, freezing injury can lead to flabby, water-soaked leaves and stalks. Freezing injury may also cause lesions on the stalk, which will turn brown.
Like asparagus, celery continues to grow after harvest: extra horizontal space should be allowed in boxes or crates.
References: Cornell University, New England Vegetable Management Guide, North Carolina State University Extension, University of California Vegetable Research & Information Center, USDA.
GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL
Celery is divided into U.S. Extra No. 1, U.S. No. 1, and U.S. No. 2 grades.
Generally speaking, the percentage of defects shown on a timely government inspection certificate should not exceed the percentage of allowable defects, provided: (1) transportation conditions were normal; (2) the USDA or CFIA inspection was timely; and (3) the entire lot was inspected.
|U.S. Grade Standards||Days Since Shipment||% of Defects Allowed||Optimum Transit Temp. (F)|
Canadian good arrival guidelines (unless otherwise noted) are broken down into five parts as follows: maximum percentage of defects, maximum percentage of permanent defects, maximum percentage for any single permanent defect, maximum percentage for any single condition defect, and maximum for decay. Canadian destination guidelines are 15-10-5-10-4.
References: DRC, PACA, USDA.