Celery is a member of the Umbelliferae family, a cousin of carrots, parsley, anise, parsnips, fennel, caraway and celeriaic. There are about 71,000 seeds per ounce or 1,120,000 seeds per pound depending on the variety.
Growers plant 32-42,000 plants per acre depending on variety, time of the year and grower preference. Celery plants are raised from seeds in greenhouses; it takes 6-8 weeks to produce a transplant ready for the field. It then takes 75-90 days to produce a marketable plant in the field depending on the weather and variety.
Celery production and harvest are very labor intense. A person handles each individual plant at least three times, once when it is transplanted in the field, once when it is trimmed and then when it is sized and placed in a carton. Celery is packed by size; the number on a carton refers to the number of uniform plants in the carton by count or in dozens. A carton should weigh a minimum of 55 pounds each and usually more.
Michigan is number three in the production of celery in the United States with only four months of harvesting compared to year around in California and six months in Florida.
Celery is a popular vegetable because it's tasty and versatile. But smart cooks also know that it's a great source of vitamins and minerals. Just two medium stems of celery pack a real nutritional punch, and qualify as one of your family's 5 A Day servings for a well-balanced diet.
Just two medium (110 g.) stems of Michigan celery contain:
15% of our daily requirement of vitamin C
10% of our daily potassium requirement (like a banana without the calories!)
Only 20 calories
Only about 100 milligrams of sodium (according to the FDA, 140 milligrams or less per serving is considered low-sodium)
At least 2 grams of dietary fiber
Keep raw celery on hand for a quick snack that's delicious and nutritious. Kids enjoy the texture and sweetness of celery, and you can add to the nutrition value by spreading celery pieces with peanut butter, cream cheese, or a zesty yogurt dip. If you keep celery in ice water, it will stay nice and crunchy.
Celery is a great, all purpose vegetable that's just as tasty and nutritious raw as cooked. Kids love its crunchy sweetness, adults love the zesty flavor it adds to almost any recipe.
An hors d'oeuvres trend-setter, crisp michigan celery was eaten fresh long before broccoli and cauliflower came on the scene. And it's just as appealing by itself as it is with dips and spreads.
Celery is economical, too. Available 4 months of the year right here in Michigan, celery is a time and budget-conscious way to add flavor or seasoning to soups, stir-fry, casseroles, stews, juices, and salads.
Serve up some funfacts with your celery
1.Celery is grown from seed in a greenhouse for six to eight weeks. Then it's transplanted into a field of dark, moist organic soil called muck.
2. It only takes one ounce of celery seeds to grow one acre of celery.
3. There are 1,000,000 seeds in one pound of celery seeds.
4. Most celery growers plant from 32,000 to 42,000 plants per acre.
5. There is a Celery Museum in Portage, Michigan.
6.The two main types of celery are Pascal and Golden Heart. However, only several varieties of Pascal are still grown commercially.
7. Celery is from the same plant family as carrots, parsley, fennel and caraway.
8. The name 'celery' is from the French word 'celeri'.