A sign posted last week in the produce section of EconoFoods in Sturgeon Bay alerted shoppers to the reason for the high price of celery, which was nearly $4 a bag. The cause of the pricey celery, according to the sign, is the recent trend of juicing celery for purported health benefits.
“It is a big, big, big trend, and it’s even getting bigger,” said Jon Konrad, EconoFoods’ produce manager.
According to news reports, the celery-juice craze is causing rising prices not only in the U.S., but also in Australia, Canada and the U.K.
The source of the celery phenomenon is often cited as a man named Anthony William, who calls himself the “Medical Medium” because when he was four years old, he said his symptom-free grandmother had lung cancer before it was diagnosed. Last month William released his celebrity-endorsed book Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time, Healing Millions Worldwide, which hit the best-seller list with pre-orders.
In the book, William claims that a 16-ounce glass of fresh celery juice consumed daily on an empty stomach will correct all sorts of ills, from excess weight to autoimmune diseases to Lyme disease. He also says celery juice neutralizes and flushes toxins from the liver and brain.
Dieticians and other food experts have said there is nothing special about celery juice and that the Medical Medium is spewing pseudoscience, but that has not stopped many from jumping on the celery-juice bandwagon.
Konrad said it was more than the juicing craze, however, that caused the high celery prices.
“It was a double whammy,” he said. “Distributors say there’s an end to the season and the beginning of another. Both sides had bad weather, which made it even harder to get the celery. Now it’s finally starting to come back and correct itself. Normally three cases would be 30-some dollars. They went over $100. Now it’s starting to drop. So it’s getting better. We were able to drop the price a dollar from last week. So it’s a big trend, and the weather went bad on both sides.”
In the meantime, rumor has it that rutabagas are going to be the next vegetable superstar. You might want to stock up.