Fenland celery's gourmet status: Vegetable joins Melton Mowbray pork pies in winning special protection under EU labelling laws

  • Celery from the Cambridgeshire Fens has won special protection
  • It is the 55th British food product to earn recognition for its quality, history and links to a specific local area
  • Protected products include Melton Mowbray pork pies and Parma Ham

By Sean Poulter, Consumer Affairs Editor

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Gourmet status

Gourmet status: Fenland celery (pictured) has won special protection under EU labelling laws

Celery from the Cambridgeshire Fens has joined Parma Ham and Melton Mowbray pork pies in winning special protection under EU labelling laws.

Fenland celery, a gourmet variety, is the 55th British food product to earn recognition for its quality, history and links to a specific local area. 

Fans include Delia Smith, who said: ‘Celery is as English as the Stilton cheese.

‘The older varieties of so-called ‘dirty’ celery from the flat black-earthed Fenlands of East Anglia have a short season – from October to January.

‘If you’re lucky enough to eat some, there is much washing to do, but the flavour is exceptional, particularly after a light frost, when it’s sweetest of all.’ 

It is the first English vegetable to be given a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status under the European Protected Food Names (PFN) scheme. 

This means other celery producers in Britain and around the world will not be allowed to promote their own produce as ‘Fenland celery’.

The healthy vegetable gets its unique nutty-sweet flavour from the deep peaty soils it is grown in, which are only found in small pockets in the East Anglian counties of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Traditionally a Victorian artisan crop grown from October to December for the Christmas market, it has been revived by fresh produce experts ‘G’s Fresh’, who have grown celery in the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire for over 50 years. 

The firm’s Anthony Gardiner said: ‘We brought Fenland celery back into commercial production in 2000, but it’s been difficult to convey to shoppers what makes it such a premium product.

Unique

Unique: The healthy vegetable gets its unique nutty-sweet flavour from the deep peaty soils it is grown in, such as those in the Cambridgeshire Fens (pictured)

‘We hope that gaining PGI status will raise the profile of this heritage variety and draw attention both to what makes it so different and the special way it’s grown.’

 

Food Minister George Eustice said: ‘Earning a protected food name for Fenland Celery is a real boost for East of England growers.

'They will now be able to trade the product with an authenticity guarantee that sets it apart from its competitors.’

Protected: Melton Mowbray pork pies are among the 55 products currently protected under EU labelling laws. Above, Matthew O'Callaghan of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association poses with a plate of the product

Protected: Melton Mowbray pork pies are among the 55 products protected under EU labelling laws. Above, Matthew O'Callaghan of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association poses with a plate of the product

The comments below have not been moderated.

What's next? Special designation for grass? Weeds? At least someone makes a pie or a pasty.

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This is FANTASTIC! The best news ever, nice to see the EU has its priorities right for a change...now my life is made whole again. (sarcasm).

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Good one, but you always have to say "sarcasm" on this site. Most DM readers wouldn't recognize irony if it came up and kicked them in the face...

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The EU is still an unelected unaccountable Communist Dictatorship! get us OUT! and we will again make our own laws in the best interests of our Nation!.

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Do you understand most of the words you have used here?

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I would like to know how much this has cost the people of Britain. Who pays for the EU quango to debate it? Who pays for the company reps to put forward and present their case? How much more cost is added to the price of the goods paid by the customer to pay for this? How typical of a communist regime, get the people to pay for non jobs created to inflate the perception of value supporting the state. (In this case the EUSSR).

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Cheddar cheese didn't get PG. it should have. Personally never heard that fenland celery was anything special. Prefer mine blanched

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