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Last Chance Foods

Last Chance Foods: Celery Root

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Last Chance Foods spotlights celery root, traditional celery’s favored cousin. Amy Eddings talks to Ron Binaghi III of Stokes Farm about growing celery root and the growing demand for it.

Say “celery root” at a dinner party, and you’ll have the ear of every foodie in hearing range. Cultivated from wild celery, the bulbous vegetable has a mysterious appeal, despite its homely exterior.

Ron Binaghi IIIRon Binaghi III

“Celery root is a little showier on the table, more of a conversation piece,” said Ron Binaghi III, a sixth generation farmer at Stokes Farm in Bergen County, N.J. Choosing fresh celery root may be difficult, since it’s lumpy by nature. Binaghi said to avoid ones that have dark spots and to store the vegetable in the refrigerator to keep it from drying out.

WNYC’s Amy Eddings talked to Bianghi on All Things Considered. The 25-year-old comes from a long line of farmers, dating back to his ancestors who first came over from England in the late 1800s. Binaghi spends Thursdays and Saturdays at the Lincoln Center greenmarket, and his father, Ron Binaghi Jr., mans the booth at the Union Square market on Saturdays.

Five years ago, Stokes Farm had 100 celery root plants. In response to customer demand, they now harvest about 1,000 annually. Binaghi explained that the planting and harvesting is staggered so that there is fresh celery root available through the fall. Celery root does take its sweet time in growing, so Stokes begins planting in late July in preparation for an early November harvest.

Binaghi and his wife, Christina, like Robin Miller’s recipe for celery root and mashed spuds.

. . .

Celery Root and Mashed Spuds
by Robin Miller
(from the Food Network)

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 celery root (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Water
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • Salt and ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan, combine potatoes, celery root and garlic cloves. Pour over enough water to cover and set pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.
2. Drain and transfer potatoes, celery root and garlic to a large bowl.
3. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk and olive oil and mash or process until smooth (or lumpy, whatever you like!). Add more buttermilk if you want smoother potatoes.
4. Fold in chives.
5. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

More recipes for celery root:
Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples
Crunchy Celery Root Salad with Mango Ginger Dressing
Celery Root and Mushroom Lasagna

Next week, Last Chance Foods examines winter squashes.

Tell us: What’s your favorite type of hardy squash? And what tricks do you use to slice through their tough shells without losing a limb?