Lifestyle: Travel & Dining

Celery, A Love Story

Where has all the organic celery gone?
By Alessandra Jenkins - September 5, 2019

Organic celery is hard to come by on the North Fork of late. As soon as it hits the shelves, it is gone. And if you should be lucky enough to find it in the shops, it will cost you dearly. Seeking insight into this state of affairs, a reporter traveled the length and breadth of the East End until she encountered a humble greengrocer. “What’s going on?” she asked. In response, he offered an allegory, which she noted down.

Once upon a time, in a land much like our own, there lived a vegetable called Kale, Queen of the Superfood kingdom. All the Superfoodistas loved kale. They chomped on it raw and they juiced it and they slurped it up in healthy green smoothies. Kale’s reign appeared secure until along came a pretender called Avocado. Avocado had star quality. It was rich and unctuous and loaded with beneficial fats and it looked great on toast. Plus it had a brilliant press agent called Social Media. In due course, Kale was deposed and the Superfoodistas declared their allegiance to Avocado, driving up its price as growers struggled to keep up with demand. Oracles called “influencers” predicted the age of Avocado would never end. Until, that is, it too was knocked off its throne, this time by a stalky upstart called Celery. Endorsed by a so-called medical medium on a website run by a Hollywood actress-turned-wellness entrepreneur with a summer house in Amagansett, Celery was said to possess all manner of healing properties. When freshly-juiced and consumed on an empty stomach, digestive troubles were alleged to vanish, aging skin was made young again, and broken hearts were mended.

When the greengrocer finished his story, the reporter questioned him further. Healthy skepticism notwithstanding, could there be anything to the celery juice craze? Might the vegetable hold the secret to happiness and well-being? He smiled enigmatically and murmured that existential advice was above the pay grade of a humble greengrocer. And so she continued on her journey, all the way to Montauk, where she sought counsel from an expert, a nutritionist named Stefanie Sacks.

“OK, so celery has vitamins C and K and potassium,” said Sacks. “But is it the panacea, the best of the best, the cure-all superfood that people make it out to be? There is no hard science to back up those claims, no major studies to warrant drinking celery juice every day.”

Sacks observed that by juicing celery, you’re not getting the benefits of its fiber. Furthermore, she said, she dislikes the word ‘superfood.’ “I think all fresh whole foods, if they’re grown properly or raised right and are for the most part pesticide-free, are superfoods. Yes, celery is nutritious, but I wouldn’t single it out as the greatest thing since Wonder Bread.” Like cucumbers, celery has a high water content, hence it is hydrating. Sacks went on to speculate that if people were to juice cucumbers, they might experience similar positive effects. Of more concern to her, she said, is why the general public is so willing to throw logic under a bus and drink gallons and gallons of celery juice, just because a celebrity claims to have experienced great benefits by doing so.

Come to think of it, who needs organic celery anyway? Long live organic cucumbers! You’ll find them at farmstands and grocery stores throughout the North Fork. For now.

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