One of the fastest-growing vegetables produced in the UK, celeriac sheds its undesirable reputation.
With its wild, unkempt roots, celeriac is one of the most unsightly veggies, but it’s currently gaining popularity as one of the hippest names in the culinary world.
That’s fantastic news for Jack Buck Farms in Lincolnshire, the biggest celeriac producer in Europe, who are now planting 50% more than they did just five years ago due to rising demand.
Additionally, Tesco is witnessing a surge in demand as consumers purchase one million pieces of celeriac annually, which was unimaginable ten years ago.
The demand for celeriac has soared by 41% since 2018, according to current data from market analysts Kantar (Dec 2022).
The plant-based food revolution, which has seen famous chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver, and Mary Berry as well as well-liked TV shows like Ready Steady Chef and Saturday Kitchen increasingly use celeriac in recipes, is the direct cause of the current boom.
The root veggie checks off a lot of health-related boxes as well as being very nutrient-dense, one of our recommended five servings per day, high in fiber, low in fat, and calorie-dense.
Emily Hampson, a salesperson for Tesco, stated:
A great era of culinary experimentation has been ushered in by the plant-based food revolution, and as a result, once-niche British-grown vegetables like oyster mushrooms and celeriac are now assuming center stage in mouthwatering recipes.
As a result of the vegetable’s unattractive appearance, celeriac sales have historically been hindered. However, in recent years, consumers have come to appreciate the vegetable’s delicious flavor, versatility in both heated and cold dishes, and nutritional value.
The vegetable, which has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor but is subtler than its relative, celery, is frequently offered as a roasted celeriac steak with delectable sauces on the menus of vegetarian/vegan and upscale eateries.
But it can also be used to make soups, seafood or poultry dishes, coleslaw or remoulade, chips, mashed potatoes, and even muffins.
Jack Buck Farms started out as a company in 1959 and rapidly established themselves by growing less common vegetables like chard, fennel, and celeriac in addition to staples like potatoes and courgettes.
The business acknowledges that in 1986, it took a chance by growing just two acres of the “strange-looking” celeriac, but demand has increased steadily over the past 40 years to the point where they now plant 450 acres of the crop every year.
Its first client was Tesco, who it has been providing with veggies for more than 40 years, including celeriac.
Jack Buck’s farm, near Spalding, grows celeriac in the fine silt soils of the region. It is gathered from August to November and stored until July, allowing for year-round consumption without the use of imports. Ninety percent of the celeriac grown in the UK is now produced by the business.
Julian Perowne, managing director of Jack Buck Farms, said:
“We have always believed in the veggie because we enjoy its flavor, but we never really anticipated its popularity to soar as it has in the recent years.
“Ceeriac is evidence that what’s on the inside matters most. Don’t discount it because of its odd shape and rough, knobby surface; it is actually very healthy and a wonderful alternative to potatoes.
“The current plant-based food revolution has really put celeriac on the food map, and it’s been championed by TV celebrities like Greg Wallace, Guy Martin, and Ainsley Harriott as well as top-end restaurant chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi.”