The latest item to receive a protected status is the Fenland celery, a winter vegetable. This food product from Britain is the 30th and the first vegetable to get the award, more for its links to history and to the locality than any other thing. The European Commission gave this celery, revived in Cambridgeshire, the famous protected geographical indication (PGI) hallmark under the scheme for European protected food names (PFN).
Champagne, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Parma ham already have protected status under various related schemes. The Fenland celery is the latest addition to this coveted list after undergoing the intensive application process, which takes four years.
The scheme for protected food name of the EU came into effect in 1993. Any registered food item in Europe will have legal protection from imitation anywhere inside the union. Fenland celery is distinguishable by the nutty yet bittersweet flavour and its tender and crispy—crunchy texture.
It grows well in peat soil of Fenland area of UK that includes parts of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The colour ranges from white to pale green. When one grows the heritage crop by traditional methods, one pays importance to the consistency of the soil. It goes by the name of white celery because it is pale in colour.
This artisan crop was grown in Victorian times to cater to the Christmas demand, beginning October and lasting until Christmas. G’s Fresh, experts in agricultural products revived this crop. They have gained their expertise growing this celery in Cambridgeshire’s Isle of Ely over the last five decades.
If one visits Marks & Spencer or Waitrose, one would find Fenland celery. Delia Smith is devoted to the celery. She says that the Fenland celery truly represents the English people. It is like Stilton cheese. Dirty celery found in the East Anglia had short seasons from October until January. One had to wash them thoroughly but they were worth it because of their sweetness.
Estimates by the European Protected Food Names Association, puts the worth of British products under this scheme at approximately £1bn. Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies accounted for a £65million boost in sales revenue and tourism within the Melton locality.