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

This week in photos | The spirit of giving comes to Haida Gwaii

Masset Lions Telethon, Queen Charlotte’s annual craft fair, Fields store coming along in Skidegate

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Masset residents receiving extra incentive to get home safe this holiday season

Masset RCMP, B.C. Liquor Store and local elementary schools team up to curb drinking and driving

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read