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not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Bulletin 445 July, 1948
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
HAROLD MOWRY, Director
AN ECONOMIC STUDY OF
By MAX E. BRUNK
Part I Harvesting Methods
Part II Packaging Methods
Part III -Distribution and Selling
Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
BOARD OF CONTROL ECONOMICS, AGRICULTURAL
Thos. Gurn a C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agri. Economist'
J. Thos. Gurney, Chairman, Orlando .
B Jr, iy Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate
N. B. Jordan, Quiny A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Associate
Thos. W. Bryant, Lakeland
Those. W. Bryant, Lakeland D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate
. Henson Markham, Jacksonville D. L. Brooke, M.S.A., Associate
Hollis Rinehart, Miami R. E. L. Greene, Ph.D., Agri. Economist
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee H. W. Littl, M.S., Assistant
EXECUTIVE STAFF Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA)
J. Hillis Miller, Ph.D., President of the G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agr. Economist
University J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agr. Statistician2
H. Harold Hume, D.Sc., Provost for Agr. J. Owen, B.S.A,, Agr. Statistician
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Director
L. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir Research J. F. Steffens, Jr., B.S.A., Agr. Statisticians
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research
W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Dir., Admin. ECONOMICS, HOME
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editors
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Associate Editors Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochemist
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Managers
Geo. F. Baughman, M.A., Business Managers ENTOMOLOGY
Claranelle Alderman, Accountant3 A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Entomologist'
L. C. Kuitert, Ph.D., Assistant
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING HORTICULTURE
Frazier Rogers, M.S.A., Agr. Engineer" G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist'
J. M. Johnson, B.S.A.E., Asso. Agr. Engineers F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Horticulturist3
J. M. Myers, B.S., Asso. Agr. Engineer H. M. Reed, B.S., Chem., Veg. Processing
R. E. Choate, B.S.A.E., Asst. Agr. Engineer3 Byron E. Janes, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
A. M. Pettis, B.S.A.E., Asst. Agr. Engineer" R. A. Dennison, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist' R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
Albert P. Lorz, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
AGRONOMY R. H. Sharpe, M.S., Asso. Hort.
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomists R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
G. B. Killinger, Ph.I., Agronomist3 Victor F. Nettles, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.4
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Agronomist3 F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.2
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Agronomist L. H. Halsey, B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
M. E. Paddick, Ph.D., Agronomist Forrest E. Myers, B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
S. C. Litzenberger, Ph.D., Associate
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate PLANT PATHOLOGY
Fred A. Clark, B.S., Assistant W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist s
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
ANIMAL INDUSTRY Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist and Botanist
A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., An. Industrialist s Howard N. Miller, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman3 Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologists
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian SOILS
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M. Veterinarians F.B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist1
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist Gaylord M. Volk, Ph.D., Chemist
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3 J. R. Henderson, M.S.A., Soil Technologists
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionists J.tR. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
R. S. Glasscock, Ph.D., An. Husbandman3 C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Hush.s R. A. Carrigan, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemists
C. L. Comar, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemist H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
Geo. D. Thornton, Ph.D., Asso. Microbiologists
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Tech. R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Chemists
Katherine Boney, B.S., Asst. Chem. J. B. Cromartie, B.S.A., Soil Surveyor
J. C. Driggers, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Husb. Ralph G. Leighty, B.S., Asso. Soil Surveyor
V. W. Cyzycki, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
Glenn Van Ness, D.V.M., Asso. Poultry R. B. Forbes, M.S., Asst. Soils Chemist
Pathologist WW. L. Pritchett, M.S., Asst. Chemist
S. John Folks, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.3 Jean Beem, B.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
W. A. Krienke, M.S., Asso. in Dairy Mfs.3
S. P. Marshall, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Husb. 1 Head of Department.
In cooperation with U. S.
C. F. Simpson, I.V.M., Asso. Veterinarian Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
C. F. Winchester, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemists 4 On leave.
BRANCH STATIONS C. B. Savage, M.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
D. L. Stoddard, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY W. A. Desnoyers, B.S., Asst. Hydrologist
J. D. Warner, M.S., Vice-Director in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOMESTEAD
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Asso. Agron.
R. C. Bond, M.S.A., Asso. Agronomist Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
L. G. Thompson, Ph.D., Soils Chemist D. 0. Wolfenbarger, Ph.D., Entomologist
Frank S. Baker, Jr., B.S., Asst. An. Hush. Francis B. Lincoln, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Kelvin Dorward, M.S., Entomologist Robt. A. Conover, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
R. W. Harkness, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
Mobile Unit, Monticello Milton Cobin, B.S., Asso. Horticulturist
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist
W. CENT. FLA. STATION, BROOKSVILLE
Mobile Unit, Marianna William Jackson, B.S.A., Animal Husband-
R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist man in Charge2
Mobile Unit, Wewahitchka RANGE CATTLE STATION, ONA
J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit, DeFuniak Springs D. W. Jones, B.S., Asst. Soil Technologist
R. L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist H. J. Fulford, B.S.A. Asst. Animal Husb.
CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED CENTRAL FLORIDA STATION, SANFORD
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist
J. T. Griffiths, Ph.D., Asso. Entomologist Ben F. Whitner, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, M.S., Plant Pathologist4
,PM oa .WEST FLORIDA STATION, MILTON
R. K. Voorhees. Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A., Asso. Chemist H. W. Lundy, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
James K. Colehour, M.S., Asst. Chemist
T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist TATI
J. W. Sites, M.S.A., Horticulturist ILD A N
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist Leesburg
J. A. Granger, B.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
H. J. Reitz, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist G. K. Parris, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
Francine Fisher, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
I. W. Wander, Ph.D., Soils Chemist Plant City
A. E. Willson, B.S.A., Asso. Biochemist A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. W. Kesterson, M.S., Asso. Chemist
R. N. Hendrickson, B.S., Asst. Chemist Hastings
E. H. Bitcover, M.A., Soils Chemist A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
L. C. Knorr, Ph.D., Asso. Histologist E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Joe P. Barnett, B.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
J. C. Bowers, B.S., Asst. Chemist Monticello
D. S. Prosser, Jr., B.S., Asst. Horticulturist A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asso. Entomologist2
R. W. Olsen, B.S., Biochemist
F. W. Wenzel, Jr., Ph.D., Supervisory Chem. Bradenton
EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Hort. in Charge
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge David G. Kelbert, Asso. ortiulturist
. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agronomist E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Thomas Bregfcr, Ph.D., Sugarcane
Physiologist Robert O. Magie, Ph.D., Gladioli Hort.
J. W. Randolph, M.S., Agricultural Engineer J. M. Walter, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist Donald S. Burgis, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asso. Animal Hush.
T. C. Erwin, Assistant Chemist Lakeland
Roy A. Bair, Ph.D., Agronomist Warren O. Johnson, B.S., Meteorologist2
C. C. Seale, Asso. Agronomist
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A., Asso. Entomologist 1 Head of Department.
E. H. Wolf, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist 2 In cooperation with U. S.
W. H. Thames, M.S., Asst. Entomologist 3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
J. C. Hoffman, M.S., Asso. Horticulturist On leave.
INTRODUCTION .................. .................... .. ........- ................ 5
Purpose of study --..-......--.. ..... ..- ...-..... .....----- .......- ......-- 5
Im portance .....-- -- .......-- ---..............-- ...- ...--.... ---- -----.......... ............. 6
Production of celery in the United States ..................-----..........-- ........ 7
Production of celery in Florida ......... --- ---....... .......---..----........ 9
Seasonality of production ...---...............--....--- ----.. ......----. 13
Production competition ..-.............. . . -------....... 14
Seasonality of prices ..........----..-....-............ ...... .....------ -18
PART I-HARVESTING METHODS ----........... --.. ------.. -..... -........-.. 21
Description of harvesting methods ..........------........-.....-....... 21
Variations in total labor requirements ................---..- -.... ----....... 24
Variations in quality .....------. ....-- -....................-...... ---- ....--.........--. 25
Studies of operations in process of harvesting celery ------................... 29
Cutting and stripping --....--...--- -----.... .....----...... -........ .....- 29
Field packing .--................... ----- ------........... .....-... ........................... 41
Top cutting ..... -..----------........--....--....-----... .. ..------..... .. ---.......-. 46
Stacking boxes .--..--...-..........--------....----- ----....... 49
Loading ----------....... ............- ----.............. ------------............... 50
Handling empty boxes .................. ....................... ---...... ---- 53
Crew organization and management .....................------ ....------ .--. 57
Mechanical harvesting machines ............... ...........----..... .. ----66
PART II-PACKING METHODS ..................--------------..--------...... 68
Description of washhouses ...........................---- .----...... .......--..-- 68
Variations in types and sizes of washhouses .....-............--............--... 72
Operational studies of celery washhouses .--.............---.....................-.. 72
Unloading and temporary storage ..-............. .....-.....---............. -- 72
Chain feeding ........- ---.......................------. ... ..-... --................ 74
Handling empty field boxes ......--............--..............--...--............. 80
W ashers --....... --..-.........--..... ----.............----................ ......----.....-- 81
Sizing and packing -....-......................-..........--- --- -......... --......... 81
Length and arrangement of packing chains ....------........................... 88
Crate closing .------.......- ..............------..--.................------------- ... 91
Sorting, precooling and loading ..........................---- ...--............-- .. 96
Need of improvements in washhouse arrangement .................-...... 97
PART III-DISTRIBUTION AND SELLING .................---- ..--.......-..-- .... 98
Available information -....-.......... ...... -------................... 98
Market News Service reports ...................---- ..-.. -----.......-- ..... 99
Types of celery -........... -........... --.......------ --................- ... .............. 102
Sizes of celery --. ..-----..... --.....--.- --. --........ .......--....--.-.....---- ............... 104
Grades of celery ...............-- ..... .. ...---- ---- ...........-........... 112
Bases of sale -------....--.. ----........----...............--..--................ 123
M market Distribution .----................... ......---------- ..-........ .................. 136
SUMMARY ..................... ..........-------------------------- .............. ....... 164
Harvesting methods ..... ----............-------- ---...-- ..-- --- .......... --.......... 164
Packing m ethods .......-- ...-...---.......-......-----. ............ ........................- ... 166
Distribution and selling ......-.... --...... ..... ---.......-- .......- ......---............. 168
APPENDIX A- DEFINITION OF TERMS ......................... --......... ................... 170
APPENDIX B-METHODS OF STUDY ........---......---...----............-- .....--............. 172
Motion studies .......-....- ......... ..... ..-... -.. -................ 173
Time studies .... ...-- ----............ .......... ---..............-- ............... 177
Daily output records -....-- -----.................--....-... ........................ 177
Quality of work -- ----............-------.........---............... ................. 178
Celery sales records ----.............--- ....-- .--- ........... ..................... 178
APPENDIX C-SUPPLEMENTARY TABLES ..................... ...-................ 180
AN ECONOMIC STUDY OF
By MAX E. BRUNK2
This study consists of a detailed analysis of the method of
harvesting and packing celery as revealed by the operations of
about half the firms handling celery in the State of Florida.
In connection with this study, new techniques and devices which
facilitate the harvesting and packing of celery were developed.
Many of the developed methods and devices had been adopted
by celery firms by the time this study could be prepared for
That part of the study dealing with selling and distribution
is based on analysis of each sale manifest of 18 celery firms
handling approximately two-thirds of the Florida celery crop.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
It is the purpose of this study to determine the differences in
costs of various methods of handling celery from the field to
the railroad car, the causes for these differences, and the effect
of various methods of harvesting, packaging and selling on
prices received. The study also seeks to develop improved
methods of handling and packaging celery through work sim-
plification 3 techniques.
This study is concerned with (1) the importance of each item
of cost and its influence on sales prices; (2) how hours of labor
SAuthor's Acknowledgments.-This bulletin is based on a more compre-
hensive study presented to the Graduate School of Cornell University in
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Part I is a
revision of Bulletin 404. The author is indebted to the celery growers and
shippers of Florida, who cooperated in supplying records and other data.
They suggested approaches to difficult problems and open-mindedly experi-
mented with new methods. The author wishes to thank Dr. C. V. Noble,
University of Florida, under whose leadership the study was initiated, and
Dr. M. P. Rasmussen, Cornell University, who served as Chairman of his
Graduate Committee. Professors A. H. Spurlock and D. E. Alleger, Uni-
versity of Florida, gave much assistance in the field work. Professor
Elmer S. Phillips, Cornell University, supplied many of the pictures used.
The study was made possible through a grant of funds by the General
SAssociate Professor of Marketing, Cornell University. Formerly As-
sistant Agricultural Economist, Florida Experiment Station.
"3 "Work simplification" is systematic job analysis by which easier, more
effective and economical ways of doing jobs are searched out and developed.
6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
and sales prices vary between organizations and the reasons
for these variations; (3) the development of improved methods
and equipment; (4) the need to improve the methods and equip-
ment which present perplexing problems to the celery industry;
and (5) the effectiveness of celery marketing.4
Celery is one of Florida's important vegetable crops. During
the 1945 season, only two other vegetable crops, tomatoes and
snap beans,5 required more labor than the 8.5 million man-hours
used in the production of 5.5 million crates and the harvesting
and packing of about 5.4 million crates of Florida celery.6 More
than half the labor required for celery is used in harvesting
and packing. Mature celery must be harvested within a short
period of time to retain high quality. Large crews are, there-
fore, ordinarily used both in the field and in the washhouse.
In the process of harvesting and packaging, as many as 10 to
15 individuals may handle each stalk of celery from the time
it is cut in the field until it is finally packed in the shipping
crate. There are many different ways in which this process
is divided into specific operations, depending upon the area where
the crop is produced and the organization doing the actual har-
vesting and packing. During World War II there occurred a
severe shortage of farm labor and a rapid expansion in celery
acreage. Since the end of World War II celery prices have
declined and labor costs have continued to rise. It has, there-
fore, become the concern of every celery grower to find ways
of harvesting and packing celery most rapidly with the least
amount of labor. In this study the advantages and disadvant-
ages of the various methods now commonly in use have been
analyzed. Possible improvements, which might enable the celery
industry to reduce the large amount of labor required for har-
vesting and packaging, also have been investigated.
The production of celery has been greatly expanded during
4The term "marketing" in this study includes harvesting, packaging,
and selling. Harvesting and packaging, in the case of Florida celery, com-
monly are performed by the selling organization.
"During 1945 Florida produced 72,200 acres of snap beans, 32,700 acres
of tomatoes and 11,050 acres of celery.
STotal required labor of 8,548,364 hours was computed from cost of
production data shown in Appendix D. Hours of labor required per acre
in various areas were multiplied by the respective acreages during 1945.
Adjustment was made for the 102,000 crates of celery produced but not
harvested or packed. Acreage data supplied by the Florida Crop and
Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 7
recent years so that it is now commonly found on the dinner
tables of millions of consumers throughout the country. It is
rapidly becoming popular as a cooked as well as a salad vege-
table. Comparatively little is known concerning market prefer-
ences for sizes and types of celery, the adequacy of Federal-State
grade regulations, or methods of selling and distribution. A
large amount of sales data has been analyzed in this study in
the hope that it might make possible the more efficient distribu-
tion of the Florida celery crop.
PRODUCTION OF CELERY IN THE UNITED STATES
Celery is harvested every month of the year somewhere in
the United States, although the regions particularly adapted to
its commercial culture are relatively limited. Length of grow-
TABLE 1.-ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION OF CELERY BY STATES, 1945.
State Acreage Production Percent of Total
('/ Crates)* Acreage Production
Winter and Spring:
Florida ...................... 11,050 5,512 25.0 29.1
California .................... 3,600 3,078 8.1 16.3
Other ............................ 250 201 0.6 1.1
Total ........................ 14,900 8,791 33.7 46.5
Summer and Early Fall:
Michigan ................... 6,550 2,952 14.8 15.6
New York ......... --------- 4,350 1,136 9.8 6.0
Ohio ................. ....... 1,450 637 3.3 3.4
Colorado ...................... 1,350 446 3.1 2.3
New Jersey ............... 1,000 250 2.3 1.3
Oregon ..................... 580 238 1.3 1.3
Pennsylvania ............ 550 198 1.2 1.0
Washington ............... 470 258 1.1 1.4
Utah ................. ..... 410 287 0.9 1.5
Indiana .................... 80 22 0.2 0.1
Total ........... ......... .. 16,790 6,424 38.0 33.9
California .................. 12,000 3,600 27.2 19.0
New Jersey ............... 500 110 1.1 0.6
Total ........................... 12,500 3,710 28.3 19.6
United States ................ 44,190 18,925 100.0 100.0
The clip-top half crate measures 10"x16"x22" and holds about 60 percent of the
capacity of the 2/3-size New York crate.
Source: Agricultural Statistics, 1946, p. 233, U. S. Dept. of Agr.
8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
ing season and soils are apparently the principal limiting factors.
The production of summer and fall celery is limited to a few
Northern states by the shortness of the growing season toward
the north and the high temperatures toward the south. The
production of winter and spring celery in Florida and California
is limited to areas with long winter seasons, free from frequent
frosts. Many of the central states do not have climates adapted
to the culture of celery, which requires a long, cool growing
season of about three months after the plants are set in the field.
The leading celery-producing states are California, Florida,
Michigan and New York (Table 1). During 1945, these four
states had about 85 percent of the total commercial acreage in
the United States. The balance was limited to eight or nine
Commercial celery production began in the United States in
1884-85 with the introduction of early, self-blanching varieties.7
The draining of the peat marshes around the Great Lakes
greatly contributed to the development of commercial celery
production. In the 1890's commercial celery production was
begun in California and Florida. The Census of 1920 reported
20,148 acres of celery in the United States. By 1929 this had
increased to 35,220 acres. Since 1929 the acreage and produc-
tion have been gradually increasing. The 1945 crop acreage
was reported as 44,190, resulting in the production of almost
19 millions of crates (Table 2).
TABLE 2.-ACREAGE AND PRODUCTION OF COMMERCIAL CELERY IN THE
UNITED STATES, 1929-1945 SEASONS.
Year Acres Production Year Acres Production
Harvested (1/2 Crates) Harvested (1/ Crates)
Thousands | Thousands
1929 35,220 14,391 1938 40,190 16,358
1930 35,050 15,073 1939 39,810 17,030
1931 35,180 13,367 1940 40,230 17,012
1932 34,220 13,855 1941 41,060 18,620
1933 34,890 13,714 1942 40,630 17,335
1934 36,130 13,936 1943 38,940 16,443
1935 35,840 12,268 1944 40,690 18,040
1936 38,120 13,983 1945 44,190 18,925
1937 40,180 15,185
Source: Agricultural Statistics, 1946, U. S. Dept. of Agr.
"Beattie, W. R. Celery Culture. Orange Judd Company. 1907.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 9
PRODUCTION OF CELERY IN FLORIDA
The commercial production of celery in Florida has increased
steadily since the first plantings in the State, but the most rapid
increase has taken place during the most recent years. In 1920
only 1,730 acres of celery were grown in the State (Table 3).
This acreage increased to 6,650 during 1930 and 7,100 during
1940. During World War II, with high prices and the opening
of new lands, there was a great expansion in plantings. During
the 1946 season 13,450 acres were planted.
TABLE 3.-COMMERCIAL CELERY ACREAGE, FLORIDA, 1920-1946 SEASONS.
Season Acreage Season Acreage
1920 1,730 1935 6,000
1921 2,260 1936 6,500
1922 2,800 1937 6,700
1923 3,200 1938 7,200
1924 4,000 1939 6,700
1925 4,500 j 1940 7,100
1926 3,780 1941 8,700
1927 4,400 1942 9,350
1928 5,380 1943 8,750
1929 6,620 1944 9,900
1930 6,650 1945 11,050
1931 6,150 1946 13,450
Source: 1920-1936 data, U. S. Dept. of Agr., Bur. Agr. Econ., Div. of Crop
and Livestock Estimates. 1937-1946 data, Florida Crop and Livestock
Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
Just as the production of celery in the United States is
confined to a few states, the production within Florida is cen-
tered in three major producing areas which are located in the
peninsular part of the State (Fig. 1). Each of these areas,
throughout the study, will be referred to by the name of the
leading shipping point within the area. Production and har-
vesting practices differ radically in the three areas.
The Sanford Area is the oldest celery-producing area in Flor-
ida, the first commercial plantings having been made there
during the 1890's. In the older part of this area the crop is
produced on Leon fine sand, a flatwoods soil which in its natural
state is of low fertility and poorly drained. The soil is made
FLORIDA TYPE OF FARMING AREAS
Prepared by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Agricultural Economics. September 1, 1945.
Sources of Information: 1. Land in farms-Aerophotographs.
2. Type of farming areas-United States Census data and technical agricultural workers.
2. Northwestern Florida-Cotton,
3. Gadsden-Shade Tobacco SANFORD AREA
4. Madison-Shade Tobacco AREA
5. North Florida-Flue-cured Tobacco, Cotton
6. North Central Florida-Watermelons, Po-
tatoes, other truck; some citrus
7. St. Johns River
8. Central Florida-some truck
9. Indian River
10. Lower Indian River-some truck
: 11. Gulf Coast ---
"12. Peace River Flatwoods-considerable truck "
14. Hastings-Potatoes, Cabbage
15. Sanford-Celery, Cabbage
18. Plant City-Strawberries
19. Manatee-Tomatoes; some citrus r '
20. Sarasota-Celery .J
21. Caloosahatchee River-some citrus
23. Lake Okeechobee-Beans, Celery, Cabbage, '
Potatoes, Sugar Cane
24. Pompano-Beans, Peppers S R A T A
25. Lower East Coast-Tomatoes: some citrus SARASOTA BELLE GLAD
26. Dade-Tomatoes, Potatoes, Beans, Avo- ---
cados; some citrus AREA AREA
S27. Jacksonville-Dairy, Poultry, MarkLt Gar- -
dens (adjacent to large towns and cities)
28. Fellsmere-Sugar Cane 21
UNSHADED AREAS-Little Agriculture; forest; ---
marsh; cut over land; range for cattle and hogs
Fig. 1.-Celery Producing Areas in Florida.
The production of celery in Florida is limited to three major producing
areas located in the peninsular part of the State.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 11
suitable for celery by tiling it for both drainage and irrigation
and by making heavy applications of fertilizer. In more recent
years nearby muckland areas in the vicinity of Oviedo, Lake
Hart, Zellwood, Weirsdale and Island Grove have been drained
and large acreages of celery planted. The acreage on the Leon
fine sand lands has been declining while that on the mucklands
has expanded rapidly. The first celery was grown at Zellwood,
Lake Hart, Weirsdale and Island Grove between 1940 and 1941.
During the 1946 season the acreage in these places totaled 2,320
acres, or more than was grown in the entire State during 1920.
The Sanford and Oviedo sections are both located within
Seminole County. The sections developed during 1940-41 are
all located outside Seminole County. The plantings in the Oviedo
section, largely on muckland, have increased rapidly, although
data revealing this are not available. In spite of the increase
in the Oviedo section, total celery acreage in Seminole County
has been decreasing slightly, thus indicating a marked reduction
in plantings on sand lands (Table 4).
TABLE 4.-NUMBERS OF ACRES OF CELERY PLANTED IN AND OUTSIDE
SEMINOLE COUNTY, SANFORD AREA, FLORIDA, 1938-1946 SEASONS.
Season In Outside Total
Seminole County Seminole County I Sanford Area
1938 4,800 175 4,975
1939 4,200 160 4,360
1940 4,200 200 4,400
1941 4,350 550 4,900
1942 4,500 725 5,225
1943 4,050 595 4,645
1944 4,100 900 5,000
1945 3,850 1,650 5,500
1946 4,460 2,320 6,780
Source: Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
The Sarasota Area is located on the Gulf Coast of South Flor-
ida. The area is divided into two parts, the older section being
in Manatee County, several miles north of Sarasota. Celery in
this section is produced on flatwoods fine sandy soil similar to
the soil at Sanford. Only 100 acres of celery were grown on
this soil during the 1946 season, compared with 450 acres eight
years before. According to the U. S. Census of 1930, Manatee
County ranked eighth among the 10 leading celery-producing
counties in the United States.
12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The principal part of the Sarasota area lies seven miles east of
Sarasota on a section of muckland about 11/2 miles wide and
21/2 miles long. This section was drained for the production of
celery in the 1920's. Since that time from 1,200 to 1,400 acres
of celery a year have been grown on these lands (Table 5).
There is little or no possibility of acreage expansion on the
mucklands in this section because practically all adapted lands
are now utilized for celery.
TABLE 5.-CELERY ACREAGE ON SAND AND MUCKLANDS OF THE SARASOTA
AREA, 1938-1946 SEASONS.
Season Muckland Sand Total
1938 1,300 450 1,750
1939 1,250 400 1,650
1940 1,215 400 1,615
1941 1,400 350 1,750
1942 1,460 350 1,810
1943 1,410 325 1,735
1944 1,200 200 1,400
1945 1,300 100 1,400
1946 1,360 100 1,460
Source: Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
The Belle Glade Area, located in South Florida on the south-
eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee, is relatively new in the pro-
duction of celery. The first production efforts were undertaken
experimentally during the 1920's, before rail connections were
available in the area. The Division of Crop and Livestock
Estimates of the United States Department of Agriculture re-
ported 50 acres of celery in the Belle Glade area during the 1935
season. Only 400 acres were grown during the 1938 season
but acreage had jumped to 5,175 acres during the 1946 season
Celery production in this area is on a much larger scale than
in either the Sanford or Sarasota area. Many of the farms
produce over 100 acres of celery, while comparatively few grow-
ers plant as much as 50 acres in the other areas.
All soils in this area are muckland. There are thousands of
acres adapted to the production of celery which are now planted
to other crops or are still undeveloped so that the possible
future expansion in this area is great.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 13
TABLE 6.-ACREAGE OF CELERY IN THE LEADING PRODUCING AREAS OF
FLORIDA, 1938-1946 SEASONS.
SSanford Belle Glade Sarasota Other State
1938 4,975 400 1,750 75 7,200
1939 4,360 600 1,650 90 6,700
1940 4,400 1,060 1,615 25 7,100
1941 4,900 2,000 1,750 50 8,700
1942 5,225 2,300 1,810 15 9,350
1943 4,645 2,370 1,735 ... 8,750
1944 5,000 3,500 1,400 .... 9,900
1945 5,500 4,125 1,400 25 11,050
1946 6,780 5,175 1,460 35 13,450
Source: Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
SEASONALITY OF PRODUCTION
The movement of Florida celery begins in December and ex-
tends into June. Shipments during both December and June
are, however, usually light. About one-half of the total crop
is shipped during March and April, although shipments are
heavy from the middle of January through the middle of May
TABLE 7.-PROPORTION OF ALL FLORIDA CELERY SHIPPED BY RAIL EACH
MONTH, BY SELECTED PERIODS, 1929-46 SEASONS.
4 4 4 4 2
Month Seasons Seasons Seasons Seasons Seasons
Shipped 1929-32 1933-36 1937-40 1941-44 1945-46
December .. 1 1 3 4
January ..... 12 10 13 12 16
February .... 24 19 18 17 18
March ........ 25 27 24 24 22
April .......... 26 27 26 23 19
May ........... 11 16 17 18 18
June ..........- 1 1 1 3 3
Total .......... 100 100 100 100 100
Less than 0.5 percent.
Source: Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.
During the past few years there have been two marked changes
in Florida's seasonal production of celery. One has been the
result of an effort to extend the season and the other the result
of the rapid increase in the acreage of the Pascal type of celery.
14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The relatively large shipments near the beginning and end
of the season have probably been due both to higher prices
during the war years and to the opening up of new areas,
adapted to the production of December and May-June celery.
In 1941 several new sections of the Sanford area were planted
to celery. These sections, located in the northern part of the
State, are on mucklands, which are relatively cool and thus
adapted to the production of celery for harvest in May and
June. Furthermore, high prices during recent years, particu-
larly near the beginning and end of the season, have caused
growers to take greater risks in producing early or late celery
in the older established areas.
Since the early thirties there has been a marked increase in
the production of the Pascal type of celery, which is better
adapted to production later in the season. Since peak shipments
of the Golden type of celery occur early in February and of the
Pascal type late in March, the proportion of the total crop mov-
ing to market during February has been decreasing (Table 8).
The net result of these several influences in recent years has
been a tendency to even out the seasonality of Florida's celery
Although Florida produces one-fourth to one-third of the
total United States commercial celery crop (Table 1), there is
relatively little direct competition from other producing areas.
Florida produces only winter and spring celery and California
is the only other state producing celery during these seasons.
Furthermore, California produces from only one-third to one-
half as much winter and spring celery as Florida and, being
in an advantageous position to supply markets in the western
United States, competes very little with Florida on the Eastern
and Midwestern markets during February, March, April and
The movement of Florida celery usually begins during Decem-
ber, when there is a strong holiday demand. During that month
shipments from California are heavy and a quantity of Northern
celery from storage is also placed on the market. The December
shipments from Florida, however, are very light, in the past
amounting to less than 3 percent of the total crop (Table 7).
The Federal-State Market News Service of the United States
Department of Agriculture ordinarily begins to report car-lot
TABLE 8.-NUMBER OF CRATES OF GOLDEN AND PASCAL TYPES OF CELERY SHIPPED FROM THE VARIOUS PRODUCING AREAS,
18 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
6 Sanford Firms 6 Sarasota Firms 6 Belle Glade Firms Total 18 Firms
Shipped Golden Pascal Golden Pascal Golden Pascal Golden Pascal
_Type Type Type Type Type Type Type Type
December .......... 20,507 --. 37,035 ...... 86,571 ...... 144,113 ------
January ............ 60,487 24,983 116,780 23,867 251,852 22,042 429,119 70,892
February ......... 144,406 64,771 72,663 99,457 257,506 61,204 474,575 225,432
March ................ 161,557 101,726 38,033 177,308 178,592 67,769 378,182 346,803
April ........-......... 115,156 139,430 62,334 136,381 121,631 33,039 299,121 308,850
May ...-..-.....----- 173,232 106,015 21,471 74,315 39,702 25,125 234,405 205,455
June ------........ ... 37,209 16,294 .... ..... 9,140 3,061 46,349 19,355
Total ....-....... 712,554 453,219 348,316 511,328 944,994 212,240 2,005,864 1,176,787
16 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
movement of Florida celery about the first or second week of
January. For the 1944 and 1945 crops the first reports were
issued for January 9 and 8, respectively, but for the 1946 crop
the first shipments were reported as of January 1.
During the past three years the proportion of rail shipments
from Florida during the period January 9-31 has increased from
44 to 62 percent and has averaged 55 percent of the total United
States shipments (Table 9). During February and March Florida
celery shipments have been about four-fifths of the total United
States shipments. During April, however, the proportion sup-
TABLE 9.-PROPORTION THAT RAIL SHIPMENTS OF FLORIDA CELERY WERE
OF THE TOTAL UNITED STATES SHIPMENTS, BY MONTHS DURING THE
Month 1944 1945 1946 Weighted
January* -......................... 44 57 62 55
February .......................... 80 80 79 80
March .........-.................. --- 82 81 76 79
April ...............---............ ... 94 85 74 83
May*-* ..........- .........-...... 82 76 73 76
Data for January include only the period from the 9th through the 31st.
** Data for May include only the period from the 1st through the 25th.
Source: Market News Service Annual Summary, Sanford, Florida.
8004 7o Total U.S.
400- / / ^/ V
/ JM. c., A1 a. 2S a /V
Fig. 2.-Comparison of Weekly Car-lot Shipments of Celery from Florida
and the United States, January-June, 1945.
Shipments reached a peak during the latter part of February and
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 17
plied by Florida has declined from 94 percent of all shipments
in 1944 to about 74 percent during 1946. In spite of the large
acreage increase in Florida's spring celery crop, it is apparent
that competition from other areas during this time has become
From the latter part of January until late in May shipments
of celery from Florida account for most of the total United
States movement. Any pronounced changes during this period
in the seasonality of production in Florida will be reflected in
the United States' winter and spring supply. The movement
of Florida celery begins six weeks earlier and lasts about two
weeks longer than indicated in Fig. 2, but these early and late
TABLE 10.-COMPARISON OF CAR-LOT SHIPMENTS OF CELERY FROM FLORIDA
AND THE UNITED STATES,* AND AVERAGE PRICES RECEIVED PER CRATE FOR
U. S. No. 1 GRADE GOLDEN AND PASCAL CELERY, 18 FLORIDA FIRMS,
Carloads Proportion Type of Celery
Week Shipped from of Shipments I
Ending United from Florida
States Florida i Golden Pascal
Carloads Percent Average prices**
January 14 ...... 649 255 39 S3.25 S3.35
January 21 ...... 655 344 53 3.26 3.55
January 28 ...... 416 301 72 3.37 3.56
February 4 ...... 584 452 77 3.50 3.50
February 11 .... 544 417 77 3.38 3.56
February 18 .... 678 517 76 3.37 3.60
February 25 .... 729 599 82 3.23 3.73
March 4 .......... 753 647 86 2.79 3.72
March 11 .......... 830 680 82 2.30 3.45
March 18 .......... 732 601 82 2.09 2.79
March 25 ......... 559 421 75 2.46 2.60
April 1 --.............. 608 492 81 3.41 2.88
April 8 ...--.....--- 442 372 84 4.00 3.28
April 15 -.......... 532 490 92 5.14 4.20
April 22 ............ 672 582 87 4.87 4.54
April 29 ........... 727 586 81 4.96 4.21
May 6 ................ 727 601 83 4.51 4.65
May 13 ........- .. 572 442 77 4.12 3.97
May 20 .........-.. 557 398 71 4.85 4.59
May 27 ....-...... -552 394 71 5.38 4.72
June 3 ..........-.. 5.78 5.23
"A brief summary of the 1945 celery season," Market News Service, U. S. Dept. of
Agr. and Florida State Marketing Bureau cooperating, May 1945.
** Net to shippers.
18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
shipments are not reported by the Crop Reporting Service.
During December and June, however, a change in the volume
of shipments from Florida has little effect on the total United
States movement because Florida produces only a small pro-
portion of the total celery crop during these months. For the
week ending January 14, 1945, Florida shipped 255 carloads, or
about 40 percent of the total United States movement of 649
cars (Table 10). Three weeks later, however, Florida shipped
over three-fourths of the total United States movement of
SEASONALITY OF PRICES
Ordinarily celery prices are high in December when shipments
from Florida are small in number. As shipments from Florida
increase, prices fall and usually reach a low in March, when
the volume of shipments reaches a peak. From April to the end
of the Florida shipping season, prices usually rise (Table 11).
This seasonal pattern has held true in periods of both low
and high consumer purchasing power, but the degree of price
TABLE 11.-AVERAGE PRICES PER CRATE RECEIVED MONTHLY FOR CELERY
BY FLORIDA FARMERS, 1928-46 SEASONS.
Season Farm Prices
_Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June
1928-35 ......... $1.46 $1.32 $1.25 $1.25 $1.39 $1.65 $2.14
1936 .........-- -.. 2.30 1.75 1.44 1.50 1.45 1.95 1.68
1937 ................ 2.30 1.30 1.33 1.76 .93 1.18 2.27
1938 ................ 1.20 1.00 1.00 .85 .94 1.15 1.35
1939 ....-- ........ -1.50 1.50 1.15 1.45 2.05 1.25 1.85
1940 ..-....-- ..... 1.80 1.40 1.80 1.55 1.20 2.15 2.30
1941 ....----............ 1.70 1.55 2.20 2.50 1.66 1.70 2.30
1936-41 ....-... $1.80 $1.42 $1.49 $1.60 $1.37 $1.56 $1.96
1942 .............. 3.00 2.80 2.45 1.30 1.00 1.55 2.80
1943 ................ 5.00 2.70 2.90 3.80 4.40 5.80 6.45
1944 .........-.... 3.75 3.85 2.40 2.10 2.70 6.45 8.50
1945 .--.......--. 5.00 3.25 3.10 2.10 4.55 4.10 5.10
1946 .........- --- 3.94 2.17 1.95 2.05 2.33 2.45 3.75
1942-46 ........ $4.14 $2.95 $2.56 $2.27 $3.00 $4.07 $5.32
Source: Spurlock, A. H., and Noble, C. V. Florida Farm Prices, Florida
Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 399. June, 1944. Recent data supplied direct from
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 19
change varies with the price level. During the 1928-35 and the
1936-41 periods the seasonality of price was similar (Fig. 3).
During these periods, consumer purchasing power was more
limited than during the war years 1942-46. Prior to 1942 a
small increase in price meant a large reduction in the quantity
the buying public would take. In spite of the fact that there
has been a slight leveling out of seasonal production during the
war years, so that relatively more celery has been produced
near the beginning and end of the season, there has been a
great increase in the seasonal variation of price. This probably
pC C" IL
1 1 90z-4-1
DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUNE
Fig. 3.-Average Prices per Crate Received Monthly for Celery by Florida
Farmers, Simple Averages by Months, 1928-35, 1936-41, 1942-46.
The seasonal variation in farm prices became much more violent during
the war years.
20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
indicates that celery, commonly thought of as a luxury, assumed
more of the characteristics of a staple food during the war
years. As supply decreased consumers seem to have been able
and willing to bid relatively more than in previous years for
the limited supply. If, in the post-war years, consumers have
less money to spend, there probably will be somewhat of a ten-
dency for this trend to reverse itself. However, when people
form the habit of eating certain foods, for a long enough period
of time, the demand for such foods usually is slow to change.
The average weekly F.O.B. price of U. S. No. 1 grade Golden
celery for 1945 has been plotted against the weekly shipments
of all Florida celery (Fig. 4). Shipments from Florida, instead
of total United States, were used because Florida shipments
dominate the Eastern markets. Prices tend to lag behind ship-
ments by about the time it takes to transport the celery to the
market. For this reason, prices have been plotted against the
shipments of the previous week. Shipments reached a peak
during the week ending March 11, and the following week prices
averaged the lowest during the 1945 season. During the week
ending April 8 shipments dropped considerably and the follow-
ing week prices reached a peak. In general, when shipments
decreased, prices during the following week rose, and when ship-
ments increased prices fell.
p cratt Caroads
- / \ /-600
Z- / \ /
/\ / \
I I 4
/ _/o ,^' .w-,Ae
1 /"' 00
I I I I I
AP/ce : ,A M'4 ,I ,9 /Afaj,27
,.Sw.e tj: J4..za .ZS MAAZI ,2Z2 Al4ayZO
Fig. 4.-Average Weekly F.O.B. Prices Received by 18 Florida Firms
for U. S. No. 1 Grade Golden Celery, Compared with Car-lot
Shipments of All Florida Celery, 1945 Season.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 21
PART I HARVESTING METHODS
DESCRIPTION OF HARVESTING METHODS
There are minor differences in harvesting methods among
the firms of a given area, all of which cannot be treated in this
study. Between areas there are major differences in the methods
used. For this reason, the method followed in each area is
Sanford Area.-In the Sanford area celery is cut by means
of a push-knife (Fig. 5). The push-knife consists of a sharpened
loop-blade which cuts the root of the stalk just under the
surface of the ground. The blades are usually mounted on
two wheels and are designed to be pushed along the row. In com-
mon practice, however, the wheels are removed and the blade
is pulled along the row in short, quick jerks as the worker
Two push-knife cutters work one or two rows ahead of 20
to 30 strippers, who work across the rows. Each stripper has
a space staked out, which is locally referred to as a stripper's
"down" (Fig 6). Each stripper handles only the celery within
his "down," which is usually about 15 feet wide. The strippers
carry small knives with 41/2 inch blades, which are used to trim
Fig. 5.-Celery Push-knife.
This knife is commonly used in the Sanford and Sarasota areas.
..*' S .P. 1 P -. '- "-7.''
w* .< *. ,e., . .
t iC$ ~ . __
.4 i~s'I'. n
~ ~ 9pri~~w~c-t~~~~
w~i'~mtrb* .,.~IZ .13:-YFL ;F
22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
the roots after defective ribs are removed by hand from each
stalk. From three to eight cuts are made at each root in the
root-trimming operation. In this way the roots are pointed
somewhat like a pencil. While the stalk is being stripped, the
knife is held in the palm of the hand. After the celery is stripped
and the root is trimmed, it is placed in convenient stacks of 50
to 100 stalks. Following three or four strippers is a packer who
places the celery in field crates. After the celery is packed the
tops are usually cut off by means of a saw or a machete. One
or two toppers work behind a crew of 20 to 30 strippers. One
or two workers stack the full field boxes in line for loading on
trucks. Loading crews vary from two to five workers. There
are also several workers in the field who unload and distribute
the empty field boxes. Each crew ordinarily has one negro
and one white foreman. Large organizations commonly use
from one to four crews of this size in single fields.
Sarasota Area.-The push-knife is used also in this area. A
field crew is commonly composed of two push-knife cutters, each
followed by a worker who pushes the celery over in one direc-
tion after it is cut. The push-knife cutters ordinarily work five
to eight rows ahead of the rest of the crew. After the celery
has been pushed over, five to eight workers walk along the rows
and trim the roots with hand knives. The roots usually are
trimmed without picking up the stalk. Only one cut is made
for each root that needs trimming, the roots being cut off
squarely. About 15 strippers follow the root cutters down the
rows. Usually the strippers pile two rows together. Following
the strippers five to 10 packers fill the field crates which they
pull along the row as they work. The tops are then cut off
Fig. 6.-Foreman Setting "Downs".
Each stripper works across the rows in areas marked out by stakes.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 23
by one or two men who use either a saw or a machete. From
three to six loaders follow the packers. Several other workers
unload and distribute the empty field boxes. The crews are
usually supervised by one or two negro foremen and one white
foreman. One of the chief functions of the negro foreman is
to recruit the workers and haul them to and from the field.
Belle Glade Area.-In the Belle Glade area celery is cut by
means of a hand-knife with a 5- or 6-inch blade. The workers
are paid either day wages or by the row. They work down
the row and as each stalk is cut with the hand-knife it is stripped
and piled in rows. Usually two or three rows are stacked
together. The size of harvest crews varies, depending largely
on the size of planting of an individual grower. In this area
harvest crews do not move from farm to farm as in the other
areas but ordinarily stay on one farm throughout the season.
These crews, as in the other areas, are also in the employ of
the packing and selling organization. One packer usually packs
for two or three strippers. In a few cases the stripper also does
the packing. A topper follows the packers and cuts off the tops
by means of either a saw or a machete (Fig. 7). The celery
is then loaded by a 3- to 5-man loading crew. When the fields
Fig. 7.-Saw for Topping Celery.
The scalloped saw is gradually displacing the machete as a tool
for topping celery.
24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
are wet it is sometimes necessary to use tractors and trailers
to haul the celery to a hard road where it can be reloaded on
trucks (Fig. 8). Empty boxes are unloaded and distributed by
several workers. Ordinarily one white foreman supervises a
Fig. 8.-Field Trailer Used on Muck Land.
Trailers are used on the wet muck lands to haul celery to the roadside.
VARIATIONS IN TOTAL LABOR REQUIREMENTS
Comparisons of organizations and methods used in the differ-
ent areas were made on a stalk-unit basis as well as on an
acreage and packed-crate basis. Because of some unavoidable
variation in size of stalks and yield per acre, it is believed that
the most accurate comparison can be made on a stalk-unit basis.
In this way, variation in size of stalks and yield affects work
accomplishment to a minimum degree. There was little variation
in sizes and yields of celery among the organizations. When
the various firms were ranked according to the hours of work
required per 10,000 stalks, it was found that they held about
the same relative positions when ranked on the basis of hours
required per 100 packed boxes or per acre. For this reason,
all comparisons in this study were made on a unit basis of
10,000 stalks. There was a variation in field work from 30.7
hours to 65.0 hours per unit of 10,000 stalks (Table 12). Wash-
house work varied from 20.7 hours to 47.2 hours. Because some
jobs are performed in either the field or washhouse, the variation
for all labor was less, ranging from 68.7 hours to 101.6 hours.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 25
There is a wide variation among organizations using the same
general method of harvesting.
The rates of performance shown in Table 12 are based on a
single day's operation. It was possible to obtain only a limited
number of records. Fields of comparable size, variety and con-
TABLE 12.-COMPARISON OF TIME REQUIRED TO HANDLE 10,000 STALKS OF
CELERY BY DIFFERENT METHODS AND BY NINE DIFFERENT FLORIDA FIRMS,
Area Firm Field Washhouse Total
C 48.2 26.0* 74.2
Sanford ........-- ......------ ..... F 48.0 20.7* 68.7
D 65.0 28.1* 93.1
P 57.3 44.3 101.6
Sarasota ........................ N 30.7 41.1 71.8
0 47.7 40.7 88.4
I 38.2 35.0* 74.1
Belle Glade ...................... M 36.5 47.2 83.7
T 38.8 42.3* 81.1
These organizations dump celery on house belt and workers on the belt restrip only
those stalks requiring additional attention. In the other organizations workers place one
stalk at a time on the belt, restripping it at the same time.
edition had to be located in advance. Also, arrangements had
to be made with the organizations to keep uniform output
records because it was impossible for two enumerators to be at
all necessary points at all times to record pertinent data.
The accuracy of basing the study on one day's observation
was tested by studying the same organization on several differ-
ent days. In all cases, the first day's observations were used
but there was little variation from day to day in rates of output
by the same organization. Complete records were obtained for
firm F on four different occasions over a period of two months.
The total hours of field labor per 10,000 stalks varied only from
45.7 to 49.0 hours, although the sizes of the crews varied from
37 to 91 workers and the acreage harvested varied from 1.36
to 2.52 acres (Table 13).
VARIATIONS IN QUALITY
The large variation in labor requirements among organizations
brings the quality factor into consideration. Quality is very
difficult to measure because many items enter into its make-up.
Each individual operation affects quality in its own particular
26 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
TABLE 13.-HOURS OF LABOR REQUIRED BY FIRM F PER 10,000 STALKS OF
CELERY ON FOUR DIFFERENT DAYS DURING MARCH, 1944.
Item 1 2 3 | 4
Yield per acre (crates) ........... 644 698 659 768
Acres harvested ......................... 2.52 1.71 1.36 2.02
Number in field crew ................ 91 37 42 57
Hours per 10,000 Stalks
Type of field work:
Push cutters ..............--.-.......... 2.0 2.3 2.1 1.8
Strippers .........................-....... 28.0 23.3 24.9 26.1
Packers ........--- ........----............ ... 7.0 7.4 7.3 10.6
Handle empty crates ..........- 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.9
Loaders .........................- ....... 4.5 5.3 4.8 4.4
Truck drivers ..............-..- .....- 2.1 2.6 2.4 2.4
Top cutters ....-........... .....--.... 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.9
Forem en .................................... 2.4 2.6 2.2 1.9
Total field crew time ................ 48.0 45.9 45.7 49.0
way, but quality is dependent on both workmanship and grow-
ing conditions. Quality is probably best measured by price, but
many factors other than quality enter into price. Among such
factors are volume sold at various times throughout the season,
type of market outlet and varieties and sizes of celery.
The quality tolerances on workmanship permitted under the
Federal-State Inspection Service are so broad that only on rare
occasions is celery thrown out of grade by any factors other
than those present in the celery as it stands in the field, but
sometimes the United States grade can be improved by heavy
stripping and/or selective cutting.
Judging from the average prices received and from a close
inspection of the celery throughout the year there was some
difference, though not a great deal, in the quality of celery re-
sulting from methods of work among the various firms. In-
dividual work methods did influence certain quality factors but
each firm used different combinations of methods and many of
the methods offset one another insofar as effect on quality of
product was concerned.
F.O.B. sales data for Golden type, size 6 dozen, U. S. No. 1
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 27
grade celery were available for six of the nine firms shown in
Table 12.8 Two of the six firms were in each of the three areas.
Comparisons between the two firms in each area were made
by matching all weeks during which both firms sold Golden
type, size 6 dozen, U. S. No. 1 grade celery on an F.O.B. basis
(Table 14). Average seasonal prices were then obtained by
weighting the average weekly price obtained by each firm by
the least volume sold by either firm. This was done because
price comparisons based on a small volume were assumed to be
of less importance than comparisons based on a large volume.
By making this type of comparison, seasonal price has the same
influence on the prices of the firms being compared. Compari-
sons were therefore valid between the two firms in the same
area, but not between firms in different areas.
In the Sanford area records were available for firms C and D.
Firm C used about 74 hours of labor per 10,000 stalks, compared
with 93 hours used by firm D. There were 12 weeks during
the 1945 season when both firms C and D sold Golden, size
6 dozen, U. S. No. 1 grade celery on an F.O.B. basis. During nine
of the 12 weeks firm C realized a higher average price than that
realized by firm D. The average seasonal price, obtained by
weighting the average weekly price received by each firm by
the least volume sold by either firm, was also higher for firm
C ($3.97) than for firm D (83.94).
In the Sarasota area records were available for firms N and P.
Firm N used an average of about 72 hours to handle 10,000
stalks and firm P used about 102 hours (Table 12). In spite
of the large amount of extra labor used by firm P, there were
only four weeks out of 10 that firm P realized a higher average
weekly price. Firm N used only three-fourths the amount of
labor used by firm P, but firm N realized a seasonal weighted
average price of $3.45 per crate compared with $3.23 per crate
for firm P.
In the Belle Glade area records were available for firms I
and J, which used about 74 and 81 hours of labor per 10,000
stalks, respectively. During 16 weeks out of 21 firm I had
higher average weekly prices. The weighted average seasonal
price was $3.69 for firm I and 83.54 for firm J.
In all three areas, the organization which used the greatest
number of hours of work per 10,000 stalks received a lower
Sales data were obtained for 18 firms, but information on rates of
accomplishment was available for only eight of these firms, two of which
did not sell celery in the described classification.
28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
price than the organization that used fewer hours per 10,000
stalks. This indicates that there was little or no advantage in
quality as a result of increasing the labor expended in preparing
the celery for shipment. From the data, it appears that those
TABLE 14.-AVERAGE WEEKLY PRICES AND WEIGHTED* AVERAGE SEASONAL
PRICES FOR GOLDEN CELERY, SIZE 6-DOZEN, U. S. No. 1 GRADE, FOR
FIRMS WITHIN EACH AREA, MATCHED BY WEEKS, SIX FLORIDA FIRMS,
DECEMBER 17, 1944-JUNE 3, 1945.
Sanford Area Sarasota Area Belle Glade Area
Num- Num- i Num-
Date her Average ber Average ber Average
Sold of Prices of Prices of Prices
Crates Firm Firm Crates Firm Firm Crates Firm Firm
** C D ** N P ** I J
Dec. 17 -. .. .... ...2,120 $5.70 $5.66
Dec. 24 .. .. .. .. 2,468 5.29 5.01
Dec. 31 .... ... .. .... 1,439 4.49 4.38
Jan. 7 ... .... .... . .... 3,211 3.67 3.63
Jan. 14 .... .... .. .. .. .... 3,336 3.40 3.33
Jan. 21 .... .... 651 $3.62 $3.35 3,390 3.49 3.25
Jan. 28 185 $3.45 $3.35 172 3.53 3.60 2,769 3.50 3.34
Feb. 4 383 3.39 3.13 330 3.39 3.20 1,936 3.63 3.17
Feb. 11 .... ... 769 3.31 3.11 2,072 3.33 3.12
Feb. 18 50 2.85 2.62 355 3.18 2.60 2,514 2.92 2.44
Feb. 25 1,394 3.40 3.63 1,137 3.60 3.65 2,746 3.69 3.64
Mar. 4 1,257 3.35 3.23 777 3.58 3.28 4,009 3.58 3.34
Mar. 11 260 2.28 2.18 367 2.85 2.09 934 2.60 2.23
Mar. 18 ... .... 41 2.20 2.35 1,768 2.25 1.97
Mar. 25 .... .. .... .. .... ..- 2,744 2.46 2.51
Apr. 1 .... .. ... 2,278 3.57 3.53
Apr. 8 .... ..... .. 198 4.31 4.09
Apr. 15 .. .... 614 4.85 5.34
Apr. 22 671 5.10 5.12 992 4.66 4.86
Apr. 29 818 5.04 5.10 76 4.60 5.10 1,188 4.89 4.97
May 6 254 4.85 4.61 ... .... 387 4.17 4.23
May 13 151 4.10 3.85 -
May 27 150 5.60 5.10 .... j .
June 3 131 5.85 5.50 -- -
average price $3.97 $3.94 | $3.45 $3.23 $3.69 $3.54
10,000 crates 74.2 93.1 71.8 101.6 74.1 81.1
Weighted by least volume of matched pairs.
** Least volume of matched pairs.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 29
organizations which used the most hours per 10,000 stalks also
put up a lower quality of celery. Certainly the price received
did not justify the additional hours expended by the various
Because quality is a composite of many factors, some of
which are the results of specific operations, it is logical to study
the particular quality factors which are the result of each oper-
ation. For the most part, these quality factors will be considered
along with the analysis of each job, operation or work element
with which they are related. Variations of quality factors which
are not due to workmanship are treated along with a discussion
of grading. No effort has been made to determine the effect of
individual quality factors on price, so that the importance of the
various quality factors is, of necessity, left as a matter of
STUDIES OF OPERATIONS IN THE PROCESS
OF HARVESTING CELERY
CUTTING AND STRIPPING
To facilitate the making of comparisons between firms oper-
ating in different areas, the operations of cutting, root trimming,
and stripping are treated together. In the Sarasota area, each
of the above three operations is performed by either three or
four different classifications of workers. In the Sanford area,
the cutting is done by one person and the root trimming and
stripping are combined into one operation by a different worker.
In the Belle Glade area, one person performs all three operations
in one continuous series of work elements.
Of the three methods, less labor is required by the hand-knife
method as used at Belle Glade (Table 15). Organization M
required 15.2 hours of labor to cut, trim and strip 10,000 stalks.
The other two organizations studied at Belle Glade used 15.7
hours of labor to do the same job. Organization M used an
additional 27.9 hours of labor for stripping and root trimming
in the washhouse, but as will be pointed out in the section on
packing methods, this additional labor was mostly due to the
inefficient washhouse method and not to the condition of the
celery as it came from the field. Organizations I and J used
about the same washhouse method, insofar as stripping and
root trimming were concerned, as the firms located in the Sanford
area. The variation in labor used to trim roots and strip celery
30 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
in the washhouse (3.0 to 27.9 hours per 10,000 stalks) was
largely accounted for by the washhouse method used.
Organizations in the Sanford area used the most hours of
field labor to cut, trim and strip 10,000 stalks. The range in
labor required was from 28.6 to 37.0 hours. The same organ-
izations used the least amount of washhouse labor (3.0 to 8.4
hours per 10,000 stalks) to trim roots and strip celery, but the
smaller number of hours required was largely due to the fact
that the Sanford organizations dump the celery on the wash-
house stripping belt rather than place each individual stalk
on the belt one at a time, as was done by the organizations in
the Sarasota area and by organization M in the Belle Glade area.
The labor required for field cutting, root trimming and strip-
ping in the Sarasota area varied from 17.3 hours per 10,000
stalks for organization N to 26.2 hours for organization P.
There was a much greater division of labor in the Sarasota area,
but some of the advantages of labor specialization were offset
by a tendency for workers, performing their specific tasks, to
get into each other's way.
TABLE 15.-COMPARISON OF TIME REQUIRED FOR CUTTING AND STRIPPING
CELERY BY DIFFERENT METHODS, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Hours Required to Cut and Stripping
Method of Strip 10,000 Celery Stalks and Root
Area Firm Cutting in the Field Trimming
Push- Root F in the
_-knife Trim Strip Total Washhouse
C Push-knife 1.8 26.8 28.6 3.6*
Sanford ...... F Push-knife 2.0 .... 28.0 30.0 8.4*
D Push-knife 2.6 .... 34.4 37.0 3.0*
P Push-knife 1.8 9.5 14.9 26.2 21.0
Sarasota .... N Push-knife 1.5 5.3 10.5 17.3 18.1
0 Push-knife 1.9 7.0 13.3 22.2 16.5
I Hand-knife .... .... 15.7 15.7 11.2*
Belle Glade M Hand-knife .... .... 15.2 15.2 27.9
J Hand-knife .... .... 15.7 15.7 14.0*
These organizations dump celery on house belt and workers on the belt restrip only
those stalks requiring additional attention. In the other organizations, workers place one
stalk at a time on belt, restripping it at the same time.
The handling of celery is adapted to a fairly high degree of
job specialization. A worker doing one simple job becomes
more proficient than a worker changing from one job to an-
other, but there is a point in every process where an increase
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 31
in the division of labor will decrease rather than increase the
total output. In the Sarasota area certain divisions of labor
appear to have reached such a point. A great deal of time is
spent in this area in picking up and putting down stalks of
celery. For example, in preparing the stalks for field stripping,
Sarasota firms P, N and 0 used 11.3, 6.8, and 8.9 hours per
10,000 stalks, respectively. For this operation, firms P and 0 both
used three divisions of labor: push-knife men, push-over boys
and root trimmers. Firm N used two divisions by combining the
operations of the push-over boys and root-trimmers. After all
this preparation, the Sarasota firms used nearly as much labor
(10.5 -14.9 hours per 10,000 stalks) to strip the celery as the
three firms in Belle Glade used to do the entire job (Table 15).
TABLE 16.-METHOD OF CUTTING CELERY AND ESTIMATED PROPORTION OF
ROOTS BROKEN, 15 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Estimated ___Method of Cutting
Proportion Hand- Push- Hand- Push-
of Roots knife knife Mixed knife knife Mixed
Broken* Method Method Methods Method Method Methods
(5 Firms) (8 Firms) (2 Firms) (5 Firms) (8 Firms) (2 Firms)
Percent Number of Crates Percent
0 41 265 42 26.3 93.6 58.3
5 8 9 6 5.1 3.2 8.3
10 19 7 14 12.2 2.5 19.5
15 29 0 6 18.6 .... 8.3
20 27 2 3 17.3 0.7 4.2
25 9 .... 1 5.8 .... 1.4
30 8 .... ... 5.1
35 6 .... ..3.8
40 4 ........ 2.6
45 or more 5 .... .... 3.2
Total ........ 156 283 72 100.0 100.0 100.0
Estimated to the nearest 5 percent.
The hand-knife method as used at Belle Glade is fast because
the same worker performs several operations while the stalk
is being held in the hand (Fig. 9). The root is cut with one move-
ment of the knife and the knife is held in the palm of the hand
while the stalk is being stripped-the hand holding the stalk
never changing the position of the original grasp until the stalk
is placed in the pile row. There is a very important danger in
the use of this method, and unless controlled through close
32 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
supervision it will result in the loss of much celery. As the
worker graps the stalk there is a tendency to bend the stalk
over as it is being cut. This results in cracking the ribs of
crisp celery (Fig. 10). These minute cracks turn brown on
the way to market, damaging the appearance of the celery.
Workers find it easier to cut celery with the hand-knife by
thrusting the point of the blade into the part of the root above
ground and quickly pushing the stalk over so that the root
snaps off (Fig. 11). As a result, the root is about half cut and
Fig. 9.-Hand Cutting Right Way. Fig 10.-Celery Cut by Hand-knife.
The stalk should be grasped low and the The ribs on the stalk at the left have be<
knife thrust deep into the root. cracked by cutting the wrong way.
In the course of this study 511 crates, containing 31,622 stalks
of celery packed by 15 washhouses, were examined in detail
for quality factors. Of the 511 crates, 156 were packed by five
firms using the hand-knife method of cutting and 283 crates
were packed by eight firms using the push-knife method. Two
firms, for which 72 crates were studied, used both systems.
After each packed crate was emptied out on a table, an estimate
to the nearest 5 percent was made of the proportion of the roots
which were broken. Of the crates packed by firms using the
hand-knife method of cutting, 26.3 percent of the crates were
practically free of broken roots compared with 93.6 percent of
the crates packed by firms using the push-knife method (Table
16). Of the firms using the hand-knife method, 37.8 percent
of the crates had an estimated 20 percent or more of the roots
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 33
broken. The roots broke where the ribs join the base of the
plant so that celery cut in this way also has considerable shat-
tering 9 (Fig. 12).
The extent of shattering is difficult to determine by inspecting
the packed crate. Inspection can only partly indicate whether
more or less shattering is being caused by one method or the
other. Some celery is cut so far above the root that the stalk
falls apart and is left in the field, thus not reaching the packed
crate. Shattering is usually the result of field operations, al-
though some firms retrim roots in the washhouse and thus cause
some shattering. In inspecting the 511 crates for quality,
shattering was recorded in two ways. When a stalk was held
by the top and one or two outside ribs fell downward because
the roots were trimmed too closely, the stalk was recorded as
Fig. 11.-Hand Cutting Wrong Way. big. 12.-Stalk Shattered by Hand-knife.
he stalk should not be bent over, as this The stalk cuts easiest at a place which will
results in cracking the ribs. result in shattering.
having minor shattering. If the root was completely severed,
so that the heart ribs were exposed or so that three or more
ribs would fall freely from the stalk when handled, the stalk was
recorded as having major shattering. Sixteen percent of the
stalks cut by hand-knife and 10 percent of those cut by push-
knife had minor shattering (Table 17). Among the organiza-
tions cutting celery by hand-knife the percentage of minor shat-
When the roots of the celery stalk are cut too short the ribs fall loose.
This is called shattering.
34 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
tering varied from 11.5 to 20.9. The variation was from 6.3
to 13.6 percent among those using the push-knife. From this
experience, it appears possible to reduce considerably hand-knife
minor shattering by careful supervision and instruction, but
probably not to the extent that it can be reduced through the
use of the push-knife. It must be kept in mind that not all
shattering is evident in the packed crate.
TABLE 17.-METHOD OF CUTTING AND THE PROPORTION OF STALKS HAVING
MAJOR AND MINOR SHATTERING, 13 FLORIDA FIRMS,* 1945 SEASON.
Method of Number of of Stalks of Stalks
Cutting Firm Stalks with Minor with Major
Inspected Shattering Shattering
G 2,002 20.9 2.0
M 1,977 17.6 0.5
Hand-knife R 1,102 15.1 1.8
J 2,157 13.5 0.9
_I 2,090 11.5 0.4
Total or average .......... 9,328 15.7 1.1
O 2,682** 13.6 1.8
N 4,208** 11.3 1.6
D 2,233 11.2 2.7
Push-knife B 1,798 10.7 0.9
C 2,080 8.7 0.8
P 1,739** 9.1 1.3
A 1,371 8.0 0.7
F 2,050 6.3 0.3
Total or average ............ 18,161 10.2 1.4
Firms E and H used both methods. Of 4,133 stalks inspected, 9.2 percent had one or
more loose ribs and 0.6 percent were crowned.
** Roots trimmed in both field and washhouse.
Rib stubs are parts of ribs which have been broken and left
clinging to the base of the stalk. Any part of a rib over 1 inch
long but less than 4 inches long was called a rib stub. Of the
celery cut by hand-knife, 8.3 percent had rib stubs compared
with 5.7 percent of the celery cut by push-knife (Table 18).
Organization M was a noted exception. The celery of this or-
ganization was carefully stripped in the washhouse and a special
effort was made to remove the stubs. The higher proportion
of stubs on celery cut by hand-knife was probably due to the
large size of the knife which was held in the palm of the hand
while stripping. This knife is approximately twice as long and
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 35
heavy as the root-trimming knife used by the strippers in push-
knife crews. It is difficult to palm a large knife and at the same
time tear all the strippings free at the base of the plant.
TABLE 18.-METHOD OF CUTTING AND PROPORTION OF STALKS HAVING RIB
STUBS LEFT ON STALKS, 13 FLORIDA FIRMS,* 1945 SEASON.
Method of Firm Number of Stalks Proportion
Cutting IInspected with Rib Stubs
G 2,002 12.5
M 1,977 2.3
Hand-knife R 1,102 6.7
J 2,157 8.9
I 2,090 10.0
Total or average .................... 9,328 8.3
0 2,682 4.5
N 4,208 7.1
D 2,233 5.4
Push-knife B 1,798 7.2
C 2,080 4.2
P 1,739 7.9
A 1,371 4.1
F 2,050 4.2
Total or average ...................... 18,161 5.7
Firms E and H used both methods. Of 4.133 stalks inspected, 8.1 percent had rib stubs.
Four variations of the hand-knife method of cutting and strip-
ping were observed or developed. The most common method
is performed as follows: A right-handed worker grasps the
stalk with the left hand, excluding from the grasp the ribs which
are to be stripped off. The grasp is made about three inches
above the root. At the same time the right hand, holding a knife,
moves the knife into position and cuts the root with a deep
thrust about one inch under the ground. During the cut the
knife is held at about a 30 angle with the ground. When the
cut is completed the stalk is raised with the left hand and carried
to the right hand as the right hand "palms" the knife. The
right hand grasps the loose ribs on the near side of the stalk
and bends them downward and away from the stalk as the left
hand turns the root of the stalk upward and toward the body
of the worker. The right hand then grasps the ribs on the
opposite side and the root is turned to the original position by
the left hand as the right hand removes the ribs. The stalk is
36 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
dropped in a "pile row" with the left hand as it reaches to grasp
the next stalk and the operation is repeated. This is the fastest
of the four variations. The complete cycle required an experi-
enced worker 120-thousandths of a minute.
A variation of this method, which results in leaving a longer
root and thereby avoids some shattering, is performed in some-
what the same way. After the root is severed with the knife,
which in this case is held at about a 450 angle, the stalk is lifted
and turned over with the left hand. The right hand then trims
with one cut the remaining part of the root, palms the knife
and proceeds as in the previous method. This method took the
same worker (not experienced in this procedure) a longer time
(154-thousandths of a minute) but accomplished a neater job
of root trimming. The method does overcome the chief dis-
advantages of the hand-knife method in that it reduces the
amount of shattering resulting from the roots being cut or
broken off too short and also eliminates cracking the ribs of
crisp celery by bending it over as its root is being cut. Although
this method is not in the most common use, it is probably the
best of the four variations observed.
The other two variations follow the same procedure except
that the hand-knife is not held in the palm of the hand, but is
left in the ground. All the workers observed who were leaving
the knife in the ground followed the procedure of carrying the
knife back from 10 to 18 inches and sticking it upright in the
soil after the root was cut. There is no explanation for this
procedure other than that it is more or less a natural move
which workers develop. Twenty-seven thousandths of a minute
was lost in thrusting the knife upright into the ground each
time a stalk was cut. A micromotion analysis of this method
led to the development of an improved procedure. Workers were
trained to release the knife the instant the root was cut. This
left the knife thrust in the ground with the handle in position
to grasp for the next stalk with a minimum of knife movements.
A crew of eight workers, who were all following the method
of releasing the knife after thrusting it back in the ground,
were trained to release the knife at the end of the cut. The
workers accepted and used the new method.
In both Sanford and Sarasota areas the push-knife is used
for cutting celery. This results in more divisions of labor in the
field crew than where the hand-knife method is used. One of
the chief difficulties with the push-knife is recruiting laborers
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 37
skilled enough to handle the push-knife satisfactorily. In the
hands of an inexperienced operator, stalks may be shattered by
letting the push-knife ride too high (Fig. 13). Major shatter-
ing was found in 1.4 percent of the packed stalks of the eight
firms using the push-knife, and in 1.1 percent of the packed
stalks of the five firms using the hand-knife (Table 17). Even
in the hands of
there is a certain
amount of major
cannot be avoid-
ed. Major shat-
tering was deter-
mined by analysis
of the packed
crates and was
not measured in
the field. For each
packed stalk with
major shattering, p
a larger number
was probably dis-
times the wheels
on push knives Fig. 13.-Push-knife Cutting Too High.
One objection to the push-knife is that it
hit an object be- sometimes cuts too high.
tween the rows of
celery which throws the blade up too high. Some operators
have overcome. this difficulty to some extent by removing the
wheels, causing the cutting blade to support the push-knife.
Organizations P and 0 in the Sarasota area use boys to follow
the push-knife cutter and push the celery over for the root
trimmers. Both the push-over boys and the root trimmers work
inefficiently with one hand. Organization N combined these
operations so that the root trimmers cut with one hand as they
pushed over the stalks with the other hand.
When celery is cut by a push-knife the strippers pick up the
stalks by grasping them near the top, changing the stalk from
hand to hand several times before it is in position for stripping.
In the process of stripping the worker usually changes the stalk
38 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
from one hand to the other at least once before completing the
job. In the Sarasota area the roots are trimmed before the
stripping is done. This, in the case of a few stalks which are
severely stripped, necessitates retrimming the roots in the wash-
house. Even with this retrimming, the roots are not as neatly
trimmed as in the Sanford area, where the strippers carry knives
and do the root trimming after each stalk is stripped (Fig. 14).
The stalk is held in one hand as the root is trimmed. In this
fashion, it is rather difficult to trim the root with one cut of the
knife. The operation consequently 'requires more time than is
required in the Sarasota area. At one time, as a matter of
market competition, celery roots were trimmed to a neat "pencil
point." This is still practiced by some organizations. Pointing
the root requires trimming with three to eight knife strokes,
which materially prolongs the time required to handle each stalk.
Fig. 14.-Roots Trimmed Various Ways.
Left: trimmed too short; 2nd from left: trimmed correctly with least
labor; 2nd from right: trimmed by the hand-knife; and right: pointed by
hand-knife, which requires more labor.
One organization, which had already abandoned the idea of
pointing roots, made a special effort to reduce the number of
knife strokes per stalk. The practice of pointing roots was
Special attention was given workers who had a nervous habit
of cutting at every root whether or not it needed trimming.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 39
Within two weeks the number of knife strokes, as measured by
micromotion analysis, was reduced from 3.7 to 0.9 strokes per
stalk. This amounted to a reduction of 120,000 to 140,000 knife
strokes per acre.
One of the most serious objections to the strippers doing the
root cutting is that they must "palm" the knife while stripping.
This is awkward and slows down the operation of stripping
each stalk. Fur-
is a tendency on t
the part of strip-
pers to use the
knife to cut off
the ribs, all of
which should be
removed by hand b t
(Fig. 15). Ribs
removed with the
knife leave small
parts of ribs
around the base
of the stalk and Fig. 15.-Wrong Way to Strip.
Stripping this way leaves stubs on root and
commonly the damages stalks.
good ribs, remain-
ing on the stalk, are chipped or cut by the knife. If these
damaged ribs are not removed in the washhouse they turn
brown a few days after the celery has been packed.
At Sanford, where the strippers work across the rows in
downs, there has been a tendency in recent years to place two
or three workers to a down. This tends to defeat the purpose
of the down, inasmuch as the down was originally devised for
the purpose of designating each worker's area. Several individ-
uals working a down together do more visiting and less work.
In all harvesting methods, workers should be kept from bunch-
ing together as much as possible.
All of the stripping should be done either in the field or in
the washhouse. It should not be necessary to handle every
stalk two or three times for the purpose of stripping. As shown
in Table 12, organization N partly illustrates this point. The
field crew of this organization did very little field stripping,
while the crews of organizations P and O, using the same method
of harvesting, did a great deal of stripping in the field. There
40 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
was practically no effect on the washhouse labor whether the
celery was field stripped or not. There was some additional
work hauling the surplus strippings away from the washhouse,
but this item required very little labor compared with field
stripping. This shows that a worker in the washhouse, who
picks each stalk out of the field crate, strips it and places it
on the belt, can remove three or four ribs about as easily as he
can remove one or two ribs. It takes the same motions for
either operation. Following the method of removing one stalk
at a time from the field crate, the washhouse strippers do not
watch their work nearly so closely if the celery has been carefully
field stripped. The operation of picking the celery up and plac-
ing it on the belt becomes almost mechanical if there is little
stripping to do. Consequently, celery which needs restripping
in the house slips by unnoticed. Workers handling unstripped
celery in the house must of necessity watch what they are doing.
If celery is hand stripped in the field following the method
used in the Sanford area, it should be performed in the following
manner to use labor most effectively (Fig. 16):
Fig. 16.-Better Way to Strip.
Stripping this way removes entire strip, but the form used here could
be improved by stripping other side of stalk first, so that root points
away from worker when stripping is completed.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 41
1. Bend over and grasp the stalk so that the thumb and fore-
finger point toward ground, palm of hand down.
2. Grasp the stalk about 4 inches above the root. Avoid
picking up stalk by the top.
3. Include in the grasp that part of the stalk which is to
be kept, leaving the ribs which are to be stripped off free of the
4. Maintaining a bending position, strip off the ribs by grasp-
ing a handful at a time. Be sure that the root of the plant is
facing toward the shoulder of the arm doing the first stripping,
and in the opposite direction when the last stripping is done.
5. If the celery is brittle the ribs are easist to remove by
pulling them straight down toward the base of the plant. If
the ribs are somewhat limber they are best removed by bend-
ing them down toward the base of the plant in a plane parallel
with the stalk.
6. Once the ribs are torn loose from the stalk, release them.
Do not throw them down or carry them in the hand any longer
than is absolutely necessary.
7. While stripping, do not change position of grip holding
8. When stripping off the last ribs the roots of the plant
should be turned directly away from the worker so that the
root may be trimmed.
9. Use the knife for trimming roots only when necessary.
10. If roots need trimming use only one stroke of the knife
on small stalks, two strokes on larger stalks. Over three strokes
should never be used.
11. The stalk should then be released as the reach is made
for the next plant.
12. Rest a short period by standing erect after each 35 to
50 stalks (one down) have been stripped. Do not rest after each
individual stalk is stripped. Fewer but longer periods of rest
are much better.
Among organizations there is wide variation in the amount
of time required to pack the celery in field boxes (Table 19).
This is due partly to the methods used and partly to the expert-
ness of the packers. The crews observed had adjusted the
ratio of strippers to packers. Organization P used 1.7 strippers
for each packer, who took 13.0 hours to pack 10,000 stalks.
42 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The strippers for organization P were very slow. So were the
packers. The strippers for organization D were about average,
but the packers were very slow, taking 14.3 hours to field pack
10,000 stalks. Organization N had efficient strippers and very
efficient packers. This organization did little field stripping and
the packers spent little time arranging the stalks in the field
boxes. The packers put three, four or five stalks in the box at
a time, working with both hands. This practice was not fol-
lowed by the
I other organiza-
tions. There is a
tendency on the
part of most or-
the importance of
g neat, solid field
packs. Some in-
sist that packers
use one hand to
hold the celery in
order in the crate
Fig. 17.-Packing with One Hand. and pack with the
Packing with one hand and holding with the other
makes a neat field pack, but the method is slow. other hand, han-
dling only one
stalk at a time (Fig. 17). The need for being so careful is
highly questionable, except in cases of extremely long hauls
when carelessly packed celery might become damaged. Field
packing one stalk at a time certainly results in the use of a
great deal more labor.
There was little difference in the general methods used in
packing celery in field boxes. Workers in all three areas use
somewhat the same motions except in the Sarasota area where
packers fill the boxes as they pull them along the rows of
stripped celery. In the other two areas the packers pack from
stacks of celery prepared by the strippers (Fig. 18). The method
used at Sarasota necessitates a slightly higher proportion of
packers in relation to strippers than at Sanford, where the push-
knife method of cutting also is used (Table 19). The reason
for this is that the packers in the Sarasota area must move the
box more often as it is being filled. This is also true for organ-
ization N, but the practice of packing three to five stalks at a
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 43
time, using both hands, overweighs the disadvantages of mov-
ing the box.
Regardless of how well the celery is packed in the field box,
there is a tendency for it to fall out of the box or become crossed
when it is loaded
onto the trucks.
Much celery is
bruised or lost
because of the
difficulty of keep-
ing it in the
might be pre-
vented by the
use of a flexible
across the top of
the box, fitted un-
der the ledges on Fig. 18.-Packing with Both Hands.
the ends of the Packing with both hands is fast, but the form
field boxes. This used here is poor. The box is poorly placed so that
the packer must turn around each time to place
strap is easy to the stalks in the box.
place and pre-
vents the celery from becoming crossed in the crate during load-
ing (Fig. 19). The strap necessitates a little additional labor and
for that reason some organizations have hesitated to try it.
On the other hand, it might possibly save labor by saving celery
on which labor has already been expended. The strap should
be placed in position before the tops are cut so the celery is
TABLE 19.-TIME REQUIRED TO FIELD PACK 10,000 CELERY STALKS AND
THE RATIO OF STRIPPERS TO PACKERS, 9 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Number of Strippers
Area Firm Hours to Pack and Root Trimmers
10,000 Stalks per Packer
C 7.6 3.6
Sanford .................. F 7.0 3.9
D 14.3 2.4
P 13.0 1.7
Sarasota ---............... N 3.7 4.2
O 7.9 2.4
I 7.4 2.1
Belle Glade .......... M 5.9 2.6
J 7.8 2.0
44 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
held firm while the topping is done. Insofar as is known, only
one organization has reported using it on a trial basis.
Packing by most organizations is done with the back of the
box facing the roots of the stripped celery, so that each stalk
must be turned over as it is placed in the field box. This is
done to get a good tight pack as well as to place the ribs so that
they are as nearly straight as possible for top cutting. This
practice of tight packing is also a carry-over from the days
when celery was packed in the shipping crate in the field.10
Fig. 19.-Top for Field Box.
This flexible strap fits under the ledges of the field box
and keeps the celery from becoming crossed in the process
The most efficient and easiest way to pack is to turn the field
crate so that the open side faces the same direction as the tops
of celery lying on the ground. In this way, celery may be pulled
into the box without lifting the stalks very high or turning
them over (Fig 20). This also makes it easier to use both hands
to do the packing. The packers in organization N were doing
"10 In any operation of this type, it is common to find obsolete methods
in use. In some parts of New York the 2-crate was long used for field
packed celery which was sent directly to storage or market. Today, a
large part of New York celery is washed and packed in washhouses, but
the %2-crate is still commonly used in the field as a field box. In order
to fill the crate, certain sized stalks must be selected and placed one at a
time in the crate, only to be unpacked, washed and resized several hours
later in the washhouse.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 45
the job in this manner and this was the principal factor which
contributed to their speed.
The disadvantages in packing several stalks at a time may
offset in part the advantages gained. The chief argument given
by those organizations emphasizing packing one stalk at a time
is that the percentage pack-out (percent number of packed crates
is of field crates) is lower if more than one stalk is placed in
the field crate at a time and that more work is involved in
handling field crates and hauling. Percentage pack-out records
were obtained from eight organizations, two of which packed one
stalk at a time. These two organizations had a percentage
pack-out of 60.7 and 62.4. The percentage pack-out for the six
organizations packing more than one stalk at a time ranged
from 50.3 to 67.2, and averaged 59.5. Organization N, which
had the greatest speed in packing, had a percentage pack-out
of 65.2. There appears to be little proof to substantiate the
above argument in favor of field packing one stalk at a time.
Fig. 20.-Packing with Box Reversed.
Packing with open side of box toward celery speeds the
It is also argued that the stalks are not as well positioned for
top cutting if more than one stalk is placed in the crate at a
time. The length of 31,622 stalks was carefully measured
throughout the 1945 season. Five of the organizations field
packed one stalk at a time. There were two organizations that
packed more than one stalk at a time but were not included in
46 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
the comparison because one used an excessively deep field crate,
so that a high percentage of the stalks were cut over 17 inches
long, and the other firm packed celery in the rough without any
field stripping. Of the crates that were packed one stalk at a
time, 3.7 percent of the stalks were cut under 14.5 inches and
2.5 percent over 17 inches long, or a total of 6.2 stalks out of
100 were outside the 14.5-17 inch tolerance (Table 20). Of the
celery packed more than one stalk at a time, 4.7 percent was
cut under 14.5 inches and 4.5 percent over 17 inches, or a total
of 9.2 stalks out of a hundred were outside the 14.5-17 inch
tolerance. This difference is considered significant but is prob-
ably not of great enough importance to offset the advantages
gained by packing more than one stalk at a time.
TABLE 20.-METHOD OF PACKING AND PROPORTION OF PACKED CELERY
STALKS TRIMMED UNDER 14.5 INCHES AND OVER 17.0 INCHES LONG, 15
FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Width Num- Proportion of Packed Stalks Cut
Method of of her of I
Packing Crate Firms Under 14.5 Inches Over 17.0 Inches
___ Average Range Average Range
at a time ...... 15.5 5 3.7 2.8-4.2 2.5 1.2-5.8
at a time ..... 15.5 8 4.7 3.0-7.9 4.5 2.3-7.0
at a time ...... 16.0 1 3.9 13.5
pack .............. 15.5 1 6.7 6.3
The tops are cut in the field by means of a specially prepared
hand saw or machete. The hand saw (Fig. 7) is gradually
taking the place of the machete, although the machete is still
in common use in all three areas. An expert topper can cut
tops faster by using the machete because it requires only one or
two sweeps of the knife to sever the tops from the celery in
each box. The hand saw is a little slower but accomplishes a
much neater job (Fig. 21). The time required for cutting the
tops varied from 3.4 hours to 9.9 hours per 10,000 stalks. The
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 47
Fig. 21.-Topping with Hand Saw. Fig. 22.-Two Persons Working One-handed.
The hand saw makes a neat cut, can be One person using both hands could do this
ised with or without the form top and job a little faster than two persons working
;aves damaging boxes. with one hand.
variation in this time is due more to the size of the crew than
to the methods used, and is not important except in very small
crews. Working at a constant rate, 10,000 stalks can be topped
in 39 minutes with a machete, or 52 minutes with a hand saw.
Unless the crew is extremely well balanced, it is best to use
Most top cutters use a form top to hold the celery in the box
as it is being topped, although in the past few years some have
stopped using the form altogether. Three different workers
using a saw and form top for top cutting were timed. The
same operators were then asked to cut the tops without the
form top. After they had cut tops this way for a while, they
were again timed. Little difference in time required could be
detected. Using the form top, 0.21 minutes per crate were
required. Without the form top, 0.23 minutes per crate were
required (Table 21). When the topper works without the
form, he uses his hand as a substitute. The form serves as a
guide for the saw and holds the celery in place better than does
the worker's hand, so that the quality of work done with the
form top at no added labor expense makes its use desirable.
The organization which required the longest time for topping
had one person carry and place the form while another did the
cutting (Fig. 22). In this way, two persons were hired, each
to use but one hand, instead of one person being hired to use
two hands. Furthermore, the method was somewhat awkward
so that two could not work quite so fast as one person.
48 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
TABLE 21.-AVERAGE TIME REQUIRED FOR THREE DIFFERENT TOP CUTTERS
TO CUT THE TOPS ON A FIELD CRATE OF CELERY WITH AND WITHOUT THE
FoRM TOP, FLORIDA, 1944 SEASON.
With Form Top Without Form Top
Operator Number Minutes Number Minutes
of Crates per of Crates per
_Timed Crate Timed Crate
1 82 .18 76 .21
2 60 .24 80 .23
3 92 .22 116 .24
Simple average .....................21 .23
The chief objection to the use of the machete is the damage
done to field boxes (Fig. 23). The straps around the heads of
the box are cut frequently in making a forceful stroke with
the machete. This weakens the box and is one of the main
causes for field box breakage. The use of the saw largely over-
comes this trouble, although some workers, accustomed to the
machete, will occasionally use
"L"- SC the saw in the same fashion as
..- ... -. the machete. Considerable dam-
y. '" age is done to the saw, as well
Sas to the box, when it is used
in this manner.
The hand saw, used in a saw-
ing fashion, does a superior job
of top cutting, because the tops
are cut flush with the open side
of the field crate. When either
the machete or the saw is used
in a chopping fashion, the tops
are not cut as close to the crate,
resulting in a higher percentage
of long stalks. The chopping
action usually leaves the longest
celery at the end of the chop,
that is, that celery nearest the
Fig. 23.-Broken Box Caused worker. There is a natural ten-
by Topping. dency to turn the machete away
When the box strap is cut, from the box as the cut is being
the box head soon splits.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 49
made. Furthermore, celery at the top of the crate is sometimes
not held down by a form top or by hand and, consequently, is
sometimes cut too short. Six organizations, using the hand
saw, cut only 2.2 percent of their celery over 17 inches long
while three firms using the saw in a chopping manner cut 5.2
percent of their celery over 17 inches, and four firms using the
machete cut 4.8 percent of their celery over 17 inches long
(Table 22). There was less variation in the proportion of celery
cut under 141 / inches long, but the hand saw appeared to do the
more satisfactory job.
TABLE 22.-METHOD OF TOP CUTTING AND PROPORTION OF PACKED CELERY
STALKS TRIMMED UNDER 14.5 INCHES AND OVER 17.0 INCHES LONG, 15
FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Number of Proportion of Packed Stalks Cut
Method Organizations I
of Topping Using Method Under 14.5 Inches Over 17.0 Inches
Average | Range Average Range
Hand saw ........ 6 4.0 3.2-5.1 2.2 1.2-4.7
Saw used as
machete ........ 3 4.5 3.0-6.3 5.2 4.3-7.0
Machete ........... 4 4.6 2.8-7.9 4.8 3.3-5.8
crate .......... 1 3.9 ..-..-...... 13.5
rough pack .. 1 5.6 ........... 8.7 .
Selection of the proper saw is of importance. The blade should
be extra long and rigid. Many saws in use were so short that
special effort was required to cut the tops of the celery stalks
on the bottom layer of the field crate.
After the field boxes are packed and the tops cut, some or-
ganizations have one or two men stack or line the boxes in rows
for the loaders. Usually a lane is left between the lines of boxes
for the trucks. As the trucks drive down the lane, the boxes
are loaded. Lining them up in this fashion necessitates handling
the boxes an extra time and is not to be recommended, particu-
50 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
larly when the boxes are stacked in rows two or three high. If
the boxes are to be lined up, it is best to use a rod with a hook for
moving the boxes into line (Fig. 24). The rod has a hook on
one end which fits into the handle of the box. The other end
of the rod is equipped with a handle.
It is not necessary to line up the boxes for loading. When
the boxes are not lined up, the trucks back up as they are being
The size of the loading crews varied from two to seven and
the time required to load 10,000 stalks varied from 2.5 to 6.5
man-hours (Table 23). Organizations which used four or less
3.4 hours per
10,000 stalks, and
those using five
Sor more loaders
7- averaged 5.4
The number of
will vary with the
size of the crew
and the work
the crew. The
Fig. 24.-Hook for Lining up Boxes. data obtained
Lining up boxes for loading is not a good prac- from the nine or-
tice; but if it is done, a hook can be used to save
strain on the workers' backs. ganizations indi-
cate that the most
efficient loading crews consist of three workers. In such a crew
one works on the truck, stacking the boxes which are passed
to him by the other two who work on the ground. Sometimes
two work on the truck and two on the ground, but it has been
observed that the men on the truck are not kept busy under
such arrangement. If more than three loaders are required,
it is best to split the loading crews into two units. Two small
crews will accomplish more than one large crew of loaders.
There is no uniform practice of loading the filled field boxes
onto trucks. Some organizations have a large loss of celery be-
cause of haphazard loading. Unless care and thought are exer-
cised, the three-sided boxes will "telescope" into one another and
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 51
TABLE 23.-NUMBER OF LOADERS IN CREWS AND TIME REQUIRED TO LOAD
10,000 STALKS OF CELERY, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Area Firm Number of Hours to Load
Loaders in Crew 10,000 Stalks
C 3 2.9
Sanford ........ ............. F 7 4.5
D 4 3.3
P 6 6.5
Sarasota ............................ N 3 2.5
O 5 5.3
I 5 5.5
Belle Glade .................. M 4 5.1
.T 2 3.4
damage the celery while being transported. One of the chief
causes of "telescoping" is that the loaded boxes are not stacked
closely together on the truck. A space is left intentionally be-
tween the boxes to ease unloading by means of a clamp-truck.
S But the space thus left between the stacks permits the boxes
to sway and fall into one another (Fig. 25). Another cause of
nearly equal importance is that the boxes are not properly tied
on the truck. This is particularly true when stake-bodies are
used (Fig. 26). A good method of tying is shown in Fig. 27.
The knot is simple to tie and untie. Some organizations use a
V-shaped board to place across the top boxes in the last row and
the ropes are tied over this board. Both methods are good.
Fig. 25.-"Telescoped" Field Boxes. Fig. 26.-Celery Is Damaged by Careless
These boxes were stacked on the truck too Loading.
far apart, allowing them to "telescope." The stake-body of a truck is not enough
support to keep boxes from "telescoping."
52 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Fig. 27.-Properly Stacked and Tied. Fig. 28.-Method of Loading in Frame.
These boxes do not "telescope" because they Some support is gained from the stake
are stacked close together and firmly tied. body of the truck if the boxes are staggered
against the sides of the frame.
The latter method requires a little more time, but saves break-
ing the backs of some of the boxes with the rope.
The proper loading of trucks, particularly in the muckland
areas, is important. Muckland roads are usually very rough and
the highways in such areas are commonly in poor condition.
Even if celery field crates are carefully stacked a limited amount
of load shifting will cause some crates to "telescope" and thus
mechanically damage the stalks in the crates. Any celery found
in the packed crates with three or more badly scarred or broken
ribs was classed as being mechanically damaged. Damage
caused by cutting the stalks too short was so tabulated, and
thus excluded from the mechanically damaged category. A
stalk with mechanical damage, under the definition used in this
study, could not be classed as marketable celery. Most of the
mechanical damage was caused by field crates crushing stalks
while transporting the celery from the field to the washhouse.
In both Sarasota and Belle Glade areas 4.1 percent of the
packed stalks were mechanically damaged (Table 24). This
type of damage was much less severe in the Sanford area,
amounting to only 1.1 percent of the stalks inspected. Organ-
ization F in the Sanford area, with 2.6 percent of the stalks
damaged mechanically, had a large amount of muckland celery.
The strap illustrated in Fig. 19 would materially reduce
mechanical damage, make loading easier and also reduce the loss
of celery blown out of the top layer of boxes on the truck while
it is in transit. The strap also serves the purpose of holding
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 53
TABLE 24.-PROPORTION OF PACKED CELERY STALKS SHOWING MECHANICAL
DAMAGE, 15 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Sanford Area Sarasota Area Belle Glade Area
Percentage Percentage of Percentage of
of Packed Packed Stalks Packed Stalks
Firm Stalks Show- Firm Showing Firm Showing
ing Mechani- Mechanical Mechanical
cal Damage Damage Damage
A 0.2 N 3.9 G 4.3
B 0.6 0 1.1* H 2.5
C 0.6 P 4.0 I 4.6
D 0.9 R 4.3 J 5.1
E 1.6, M 1.0**
Average 1.1 4.1 4.1
Omitted from average of area because celery was field packed in the rough, with all
stripping done in washhouse. The strippings protect the stalk from mechanical damage.
** Omitted from average of area because washhouse was located in the celery field and
truck hauling was not involved.
the celery in place for top cutting. When the crates are lifted
on the truck they are jolted some so that an occasional stalk
laps over the end of the crate or becomes crossed. When one
crate is placed on top of another crate the displaced stalks in
the first crate are commonly damaged. A great amount of this
would be prevented by using the strap. In the Belle Glade and
Sarasota areas some protection is needed for the top of the crate
if mechanical damage is to be materially reduced.
HANDLING EMPTY BOXES
The truck drivers return the empty field crates to the field,
taking out a load of "empties" after every third trip to the
washhouse with filled crates. Some organizations had no definite
system for returning empty field boxes to the field. This resulted
in either running out of field boxes or of finishing out a field
with a large excess of empty crates, which had only to be re-
loaded and hauled to another field.
Most of the crews had two workers in the field crews handling
empty field boxes. It was the duty of these workers to distribute
the crates to the packers. The variation in rates of accomplish-
ment of the empty box men depended upon the speed of the
strippers and packers. There was some difference among the
organizations concerning the manner in which the empty boxes
54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Most of the organizations followed the practice of throwing
the boxes off the truck as the truck was driven through the
field. In this way the boxes were unloaded near the place where
they were to be filled. The empty box men then carried the
crates to the packers, usually two at a time. The box men of
organization D required only 1.3 hours to distribute field crates
for 10,000 stalks of celery (Table 25). Only firm F used less
labor. The box men of firm D usually carried four crates at a
time. This can be done easily by placing one crate upside down
on each side of the worker and then placing a crate with the
top up on the top of each upside down crate, so that the bottoms
of the stacked crates come together. The box man can then
pick up the four crates by grasping them through the slats
in the bottom of the crates. When crates are stacked this
way, the backs should be next to the worker for better
balance. The box men of organization F left the crates locked
together as illustrated in Fig. 30 and rolled the crates to the
packers four at a time. Crates positioned this way, however,
were not as convenient for the packers.
TABLE 25.-TIME REQUIRED BY EMPTY BOX MEN TO DISTRIBUTE CRATES FOR
10,000 STALKS OF CELERY, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Number of Total Number Hours Required
Empty of Workers to Distribute
Area Firm Box Men in Crates for
Sin Crew Field Crew 10,000 Stalks
C 2 511/ 1.9
Sanford .............. F 2 91 1.0
D 2 97 1.3
P 4 59 4.1
Sarasota .............. N 2 40 1.5
0 2 47 2.1
I 2 351/2 2.1
Belle Glade .......... M 2 30 2.4
J 1 24 1.6
The box men of firms P and J required 4.1 and 1.6 hours, re-
spectively, to distribute boxes for 10,000 stalks. The workers
of these firms handed the crates off the trucks, one crate at a
time, to workers on the ground. This was done to save damaging
the crates. The time required by organization J was less than
that used by organization P because loaders helped unload boxes
and their time was not charged to unloading crates. The loaders
could do this because the crew was small.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 55
The loss of boxes each year through breakage is a large item
of cost. It is a more common practice to push the boxes off
the truck as the truck is driven slowly through the field than to
have one worker hand the boxes to a fellow worker on the
ground. However, both practices are extremes. If the un-
loaders are supervised properly they can be taught to drop the
boxes from the truck as it slowly moves along, care being taken
not to let the boxes hit on the ends. The box should be dropped
so that when it hits the ground it lands on the bottom or back.
If the boxes are to be pushed off the truck, as is now the common
practice, it is best to stack the boxes on the truck so that four of
them are locked together (Fig. 30). The boxes thus locked to-
gether brace each other in the fall by protecting the weak corners.
Field boxes are broken in many different ways (Fig. 31).
The most severe damage is caused by pushing the boxes off the
truck so that the weak, unsupported corner hits the ground first.
This weakens the crate and will frequently put it out of use,
particularly if the strapping around the ends has been cut with
a topping knife.
Fig. 29.-Usual Way of Stacking Fig. 30.-Four Boxes Locked To-
Field Boxes. gether for Better Support.
Empty boxes are stacked in this Four boxes locked together will
manner for greater compactness in ride well and can be pushed off the
hauling, truck with a minimum of damage.
56 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
When this strapping is cut and the box hits on the weak
corner the head splits, running with the grain of the wood
(Fig. 23). The box shown in Fig. 23 illustrates another com-
mon damage. The bottom back board was probably split during
loading by a worker trying to kick the box into position on the
truck. Other common breakage is caused by trucks running
over the boxes in the field and by loaders temporarily bracing
a loaded box on the corner of another box while loading. The
ly ruins a box,
.M while the latter
the middle slat
in the bottom of
the box. A box
broken in the
latter fashion is
in use until some-
thing else hap-
pens to it. Fig.
32 shows the
Fig. 31.-Damaged Field Boxes.
Most of this damage is caused by cutting the damage whi ch
straps around the heads of the boxes and throwing caused the break-
the boxes off the trucks. down of 52 boxes
which were selected at random from a larger number of boxes
shown in Fig. 31. The firm owning these 52 boxes topped by
hacking with a hand saw.
Based upon this study of broken field boxes, a new type box
was designed (Fig. 33). The features of this new box are:
1. Lumber in heads is turned to run vertically so that the
grain will absorb shocks on weak corners.
2. Handle is automatically made by leaving space between
headboards. This also reduces need for wide lumber and for
3. Cutting board is inset 1/8 inch so that saw will not hit
4. Strap is inset from ends of box 1/2 inch, reducing risk of
breakage and strengthening the box.
5. Inside posts are eliminated and placed on outside of box
so that all slats on the box are nailed cross-grain and have more
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 57
5 Loose ends
E 6 Broken I
0I o 1 -- Loose end
-vrs t i^- -J 6'-o*e 5 i g
Ss5Plit 0' / Lo e eo d
Strop at this point -^ boken :; sgO6<
Z 1 Gone 1
Strap at this point e3 Gone
33 cut or broken 0 ef
Strap at this p t:
26 cut or broken
Fig. 32.-Damage Contributing to the Breakdown of 52 Celery Field Boxes.
Severest damage was at the front lower corners, resulting from the
6. To reduce breakage of the bottom back slat it was lowered
so that the slat in the bottom gives it support against kicking.
7. The middle slat in the bottom of the box was made of
wider material. Many of the boxes still in use had this slat
8. The seating boards were made of wider materials to pre-
9. The seating boards, cutting board and end supports are
all made of the same width material.
10. The box is made 1 inch higher because of the strength-
ened heads. This offsets the loss of inside capacity caused by
moving the heads in.
This box was developed in the late spring of 1944 and has
not yet been in use long enough to test thoroughly its merits.
CREW ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
SIZE OF CREWS
The number of workers used in single fields varied from 24
to 97 (Table 26). During the course of the study harvesting
crews of from 15 to 123 workers were observed. Some firms
used several crews in the same field. Single crews usually con-
sisted of 25 to 40 workers supervised by two foremen. The
maximum size crew for efficient work in the Sanford area ap-
58 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
parently consisted of about 60 workers, of which 32 were strip-
pers, 10 packers, six truck loaders, four truck drivers, two
push-knife men, two empty box men, two top cutters and two
foremen. The optimum size crews were half this size. From
field to field there was some variation in the proportions of the
different classes of workers, but on the average a crew of 60
worked across a five-acre field in one sweep and maintained uni-
form downs. The foremen of many crews in the Sanford area paid
little attention to the extent that the crew "fitted" across the
field, and were frequently forced to cramp the crew into a very
narrow space. Laborers work at below the average rates when
they are cramped together.
Fig. 33.-New Style Field Box.
This box was built to reduce the breakage shown in Fig. 32.
In the Sarasota and Belle Glade areas the optimum size crew
was not so distinct as in the Sanford area, but it was generally
observed that the smaller crews were the faster ones. In the
Belle Glade area one packer should pack for two strippers be-
cause the hand-knife method of cutting is faster than the push-
knife method used at either Sanford or Sarasota. In the Sara-
sota area about five packers should pack for nine strippers and
four root trimmers. The size of individual crews in the Belle
Glade and Sarasota areas depended largely on the amount of
celery to be cut at one time. Some crews were too large for
adequate supervision and should have been divided in the field.
Regardless of the amount of supervision, if more than one crew
TABLE 26.-NUMBER OF FIELD WORKERS AND FOREMEN IN CELERY HARVESTING CREWS, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Operation Sanford Sarasota Belle Glade
C F D P N O0 I M J
Push cutters .................. 2 4 4 2 2 2 ......
Push-over boys .... .............. ............ 2 ... 2
Root cutters ..... .. .. ......... .. .... ... 8 7 5
Strippers ..................... .... 29 55 52 16 114 4 15 13 10
Packers ..................................... 8 14 22 14 5 8 7 5 5
Total handling stalks ..-....... 39 73 78 42 28 31 22 18 15
Empty box men ..........---....--.- 2 2 2 4 2 2 2 2 1
Loaders ---- ..................- ....-----3 7 4 6 3 5 5 4 2.
Truck drivers ....................... 2 3 3 3 4 3 2 3 2 M
Field drivers ...........-.... ....... .... -..- ... .... ... ... 2 .... 1 C
Top cutters ......................---- .. 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 2 1
Stackers .- -.................... ... .... _ 2 1 .. ... ........ 1
Total handling crates .......- 9 14 13 14 10 12 12 11 8
Foremen ................................-.... 3% 4 6 3 2 4 1l/2 1/ 1
Total field crew ................ .... 5 511,% 91 97 59 40 47 35-/2 301/2 24
60 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
was used in a single field they should have been placed as far
apart as was practicable.
Some of the larger organizations, which employ a number of
crews, have tended in recent years to use all their crews in one
field at a time, moving the crews from field to field during the
day. It required one firm between 30 and 40 minutes to move
its crews each time, and thus the effectiveness of 5 to 20 per-
cent of its manpower was lost because of this practice (Table
27). Large crews can be used effectively in large fields, but
only small crews should be sent to small fields. When more
than one crew is being used in a field the field manager should be
constantly thinking of the possibility of splitting the crews dur-
ing the day in order to complete two fields and thus prevent
moving all workers, as well as to obviate an extra move for a
large crew the next day. The firm shown in Table 27 should
have been losing only 3 or 4 percent instead of 15 to 20 percent
of its manpower moving its crews from field to field. Even when
large crews are used in large fields it is best to keep the crews
separated. It was noted that when a number of crews were
used in the same field, working side by side, one did no more
TABLE 27.-PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL FIELD LABOR LOST MOVING THE CREWS
OF ONE FIRM AND THE ESTIMATED PERCENTAGE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN
LOST HAD ALL MOVES FROM FIELD TO FIELD BEEN PLANNED. TEN
CONSECUTIVE DAYS, 1944 SEASON.
Percentage of Working Estimated Percentage of
Time Actually Lost Working Time Which Should
Day Moving Crews from Have Been Lost if Moves Had
Field to Field Been Planned*
1 17 7
2 19 3
3 18 3
4 10 4
5 5 0
6 18 5
7 20 0
8 20 3
9 13 3
10 20 7
This firm used a number of field crews and followed the practice of using all crews
in one field, moving them from field to field during working hours. The estimated percentage
of working time which should have been lost if moves had been planned was calculated
by using records kept by the firm of fields harvested, the estimated production of each
field before harvesting, the actual production of each field after harvest, the number of
workers in each crew and the daily volume harvested by each crew. The estimate was
made by assigning crews to the fields on the basis of the estimated production of each field
and the usual accomplishment of each crew. In this way, a number of different fields
would have been harvested simultaneously, thereby eliminating the moving of many workers.
For the last field to be harvested during the day, it was assumed that 50 percent of the crew
would have been moved every time following the principle of splitting the crews for clean-up
purposes. This assumption was based on a comparison of the actual and estimated pro-
duction of each field.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 61
than another. When the same crews were separated some crews
were consistently faster than others. Where a number of crews
are used together the pace tends to be set by the slowest crew,
just as the pace
of the strippers
tends to be set
by the slowest ri P -ki
workers. IY e
Every field of
celery presents a
different problem %'
from the stand-
point of crew bal-
ance. Small or O,
requires a higher
packer than large ad
or good quality
celery. A higher
proportion is used
on Golden celery
than on Pascal.
Some of the more
efficient foremen -
crews to these
many of the
crews observed in
this study were Fig. 34.-Harvesting Crew with Push-knife Man
Waiting for Strippers.
not well adjusted. Push-knife man in foreground is waiting until most
Balance is more strippers catch up before stripping next row.
crews using the push-knife method of cutting than for those
using the hand-knife method. One push-knife man should not
be permitted to hold up 15 strippers, yet this was observed in a
number of the crews in the Sanford area and occasionally in
the Sarasota area (Figs. 34 and 35). The push-knife men should
not be permitted to get very far ahead of the strippers, but
62 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
should never allow more than three or four strippers to catch
up with them. If the push-knife man consistently maintains
this rate the strippers will work to stay up with the push-knife
in order to gain
a little rest oc-
as if the push-
knife gets too far
ahead the strip-
pers begin to lag
in their work.
of crew balance
i bs vis illustrated by
a case study of
Stwo crews of 23
strippers eac h,
operating in the
SSanford area. The
re N 46 strippers were
"working across a
field of celery
-) with rows 406
"feet long. Each
down was 10 6
Y- ~ inches wide. Two
ro ws of celery
were cut at a
time by means
of push knives.
Each time the
Fig. 35.-Harvesting Crew with Strippers Being two rows a strip-
Delayed. per was timed
Strippers in background are waiting for celery to be
cut by push-knife man. according to the
time worked and
the time waiting for the push-knives to return (Table 28). The
time between rounds with the push-knives varied, depending on
how well the crew was caught up.
Crew No. 1 had more experienced and mature workers than
crew No. 2. The strippers of No. 1 were working only 58 per-
cent of the time, while those of crew No. 2 worked 76 percent
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 63
TABLE 28.-MINUTES EACH CELERY STRIPPER SPENT WORKING AND WAITING
FOR PUSH-KNIFE, TWO CREWS IN ONE FIELD, EACH CONSISTING OF 23
STRIPPERS, FLORIDA, 1944 SEASON.
(Time Shown is for Cutting 2 Rows in 106-Inch Downs)
Working Is of
Stripper Minutes Minutes Total Time Lapsed
Working Waiting Time Before Next
___Down Was Cut
Crew No. 1
1 2.91 1.97 4.88 60
2 2.46 4.65 7.11 35
3 2.90 3.84 6.74 43
4 3.92 1.32 5.24 75
5 3.27 1.75 5.02 65
6 3.75 .85 4.60 82
7 3.80 1.18 4.98 76
8 3.15 2.21 5.36 59
9 2.33 3.45 5.78 40
10 2.70 2.61 5.31 51
11 2.90 2.89 5.79 50
12 3.15 1.23 4.38 72
13 2.88 2.34 5.22 55
14 3.15 2.94 6.09 52
15 4.62 4.23 8.85 52
16 4.02 2.14 6.16 65
17 3.00 4.60 7.60 39
18 3.19 1.68 4.87 66
19 3.28 2.61 5.89 56
20 2.69 2.32 5.01 54
21 4.00 .88 4.88 82
22 3.66 2.00 5.66 65
23 3.80 1.09 4.89 78
Total .......... 75.53 54.78 130.31
Average .... 3.28 2.38 5.67 58
Crew No. 2
1 3.03 2.43 5.46 55
2 3.49 1.68 5.17 68
3 6.31 ..... 6.31 (5.26)* 120
4 5.52 .... 5.52 (4.42)* 125
5 5.88 ..... 5.88 (5.39)* 109
6 4.66 ...... 4.66 (4.16)* 112
7 7.86 ......7.86 (6.05)* 130
8 2.76 1.28 4.04 68
9 3.53 1.89 5.42 65
10 3.33 2.70 6.03 55
11 4.03 1.65 5.68 71
12 2.72 1.94 4.66 58
13 8.62 ...... 8.62 (5.39)* 160
14 3.61 1.58 5.19 70
15 3.99 3.06 7.05 57
16 4.24 1.00 5.24 81
17 5.04 ..... 5.04 100
18 3.97 1.49 5.46 73
19 2.97 1.61 4.58 65
20 2.81 3.31 6.12 46
64 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
TABLE 28.-MINUTES EACH CELERY STRIPPER SPENT WORKING AND WAITING
FOR PUSH-KNIFE, TWO CREWS IN ONE FIELD, EACH CONSISTING OF 23
STRIPPERS, FLORIDA, 1944 SEASON--(Concluded).
(Time Shown is for Cutting 2 Rows in 106-Inch Downs)
Working Is of
Stripper Minutes Minutes Total Time Lapsed
Working Waiting Time Before Next
Down Was Cut
21 3.03 2.41 5.44 56
22 3.10 1.90 5.00 62
23 2.62 1.87 4.49 58
Total .......... 97.12 31.65 127.34
Average ... i 4.22 1.38 5.54 76
Strippers numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 13 of Crew No. 2 had not finished their downs by
the time the push-knife had returned on the next cut. The time in the bracket is the
lapsed time between push-knife rounds. To this figure was added the time taken to finish
stripping the celery cut in the first down by the push-knife.
of the time to accomplish the same job. There were nine workers
in crew No. 2 and only two workers in crew No. 1 who took
over four minutes to strip a down of two rows. There were six
workers in crew No. 2 who took over five minutes to do the
same job. These six workers were primarily responsible for
delaying the work of 40 other strippers. This is a simple
example of poor crew balance between workers doing the same
job. Most problems of crew balance deal with adjusting the
numbers of workers doing different jobs. Because of different
standards of performance for each job, it is difficult to tell
which jobs are cause or result. Most jobs in an assembly line
process are both cause and result. In the case of the two crews
illustrated, crew No. 1 was held back by crew No. 2, which in
turn was working faster than normal. The output of the two
crews together was 17.5 field crates per stripper-hour. When
the crews were separated the following day the output of crew
No. 2, with 19 strippers, was 2,843 field crates in 91/2 hours,
or 15.7 field crates per stripper-hour. The output of crew No. 1
was measured two days later when, with 22 strippers, it was
4,235 field crates in 8 hours, or 24.1 field crates per stripper-
hour. The hours the strippers worked were taken from the
payroll forms of the firm and were not actually timed. Payroll
hours were recorded to the nearest quarter hour so that a slight
error may exist in the comparison made. It is conclusive, how-
ever, that when the two crews worked together the slow crew
speeded up and the fast crew slowed down. More work was
accomplished by the two crews when they were separated than
when they were in the same field.
In all crews some strippers
are slower than others. Care
should be taken in placing
these workers in position in the
field. At Belle Glade, where
the celery is cut down the row,
it is best to have the faster
strippers on the outside row
so that the handling of the
field boxes is simplified. If the
faster strippers are placed on .
the inside rows, field boxes
must be carried around or
handed over the uncut celery.
In cutting across the rows,
good and poor strippers should
be interspersed. It is a good
practice to have one or two
"catch-up" strippers help out
the slower workers, and thus
prevent them from holding up V
the entire crew.
TRAINING NEW WORKERS
Some farm jobs require lit-
tle instruction but most jobs
in the process of harvesting
celery require almost constant
instruction. This is particu-
larly true of stripping. Much &
less effort will be required
along this line if new workers
are properly trained at first.
The proper sequence in train-
ing is illustrated in Fig. 36.
Step 1 should show how the
job is done, together with
reasons why it is done that
way. Key points should be
Fig. 36.-The Training Sequence.
Top: Show how; center: test and cor-
rect; bottom: frequent check-up.
66 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
emphasized several times and all questions should be answered.
Give the worker a chance to ask questions. In step 2 the
worker should try the job and, under close supervision, all
errors should be corrected. Question the worker: "what,"
"why," "how?" Continue the test until it is certain he knows
the job thoroughly. Step 3 should then allow the worker to
be "on his own," but under very close supervision. Check the
work frequently, correct errors only when necessary and then
give reasons, and above all encourage and compliment the worker
when the job is well done. If the normal worker is not doing
the job right the foreman has not done his job.
MECHANICAL HARVESTING MACHINES
In recent years a number of celery growers have been inter-
ested in mechanical harvesting machines. Several types of
machines have been built. Some of these units were in use
when the field work on this study was done. The output of
the machines was compared with the common harvesting methods
but the records have not been included in this study because
the crews had not yet been thoroughly trained to work with
such units. Most of the machines built to date serve only to
cut the root of the celery plant. In an average crew the push-
knife labor constitutes but 4 to 5 percent of the total field
labor. The saving that such machines can offer is, therefore,
extremely limited unless they can be built to cut the root at
the proper length. Even if this is done, the saving of labor is
still only a small proportion of the total field crew labor
The greatest amount of labor can be saved by replacing
mechanically the hand job of field stripping and packing. The
handling of field boxes and packing involves a high proportion
of the total labor of the field crew (Table 26). Mechanical load-
ers offer the possibility of tremendous savings of labor. It is
more difficult to imagine a mechanical stripper, although con-
siderable stripping labor could be saved if the celery were hauled
to the washhouse and topped before it is stripped.
The machine that will offer the greatest labor-saving oppor-
tunities will cut the root at the proper place and automatically
load celery in bulk. Such a machine might also top the celery
before the root is cut. The machine would, therefore, replace
the field crew as such. The strippers could do their work in
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 67
the washhouse under much more satisfactory working conditions.
This study points out the greatest possibilities for saving
labor by mechanical harvesting devices. They are listed in order,
from the possibilities of the greatest savings to the least:
1. Mechanical loading.
2. Mechanical stripping.
3. Mechanical top cutting.
4. Mechanical root cutting.
The development of mechanical loading would affect the fol-
lowing operations: packing, handling empty boxes, loading,
stacking, unloading, dumping, and repairing damaged boxes.
In addition, the saving in field box expense must be considered
as well as the added weight of the field boxes. Under the present
system 9 to 11 pounds of field box must be hauled to the field
and handled a number of times to carry 39 pounds of celery to
the washhouse. There are between five and eight tons of waste
from an acre of ordinary yielding celery. The field boxes re-
quired to harvest an acre of celery weigh more than five tons and
not only must be hauled both directions but also must be handled
a number of times each round trip. There would be little differ-
ence in hauling the celery waste or the field boxes. Celery waste
could be reduced at the washhouse by means of a press. By-
product uses of celery waste are now being developed.
Mechanical stripping does not seem to be a likely develop-
ment in the near future, because of the inherent characteristics
of the stalk. With mechanical loading the job of stripping is
greatly simplified, because all the celery is brought to the worker
in the washhouse. The need to stoop over for each stalk is
eliminated. Mechanical top cutting would save considerable
stripping labor because there would be less stalk to handle.
It is not odd that the persons interested in mechanical harvest-
ing have concentrated on root cutting. One naturally thinks
of cutting the stalk from the ground as the primary harvesting
job. Not until after a careful study of the time required to
do the various jobs involved in harvesting does one realize that
there are other functions far more important. To save the most
labor present effort should be devoted to mechanical loading
rather than to the root-cutting operation.
68 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
PART II PACKAGING METHODS
DESCRIPTION OF WASHHOUSES
Celery is trucked from the field to a central plant (washhouse)
for further stripping, root trimming, washing, sizing, pack-
aging and precooling.
Celery washhouses in Florida are built on the same general
pattern, consisting of an unloading platform, a conveyor chain
on which the celery is placed either before or after stripping,
a pressure washer, conveyor chain from which the washed
celery is selected for packing, packing tables, a series of con-
veyor chains to move the filled crates to the precooler, some-
times a sorting room, a precooler, and a loading platform parallel
to a railroad siding. Most of the washhouses have these fea-
tures. In a few cases the celery is packed in one plant and
hauled to another for precooling and loading into refrigerator
cars. In the latter case the packing plant usually is located on
the farm and the precooling plant on a railroad siding.
Washhouse capacity is adjusted by varying the number of
packing chains and to a lesser extent by varying the length of
the stripping and packing chain. Florida celery washhouses
have from one to four chains. In some of the smaller houses only
one side of one chain is used. A typical floor plan of a two-chain
washhouse is illustrated in Fig. 37. For this type of house the
celery is unloaded from the field trucks by means of hand clamp-
trucks. These trucks move the field crates from the truck to
the temporary storage platform (1),11 where an individual
grower's celery is accumulated until there is sufficient quantity
(400-800 field boxes) to begin packing.
There are two common procedures from this point. The more
common procedure is to run each grower's celery on a separate
chain, simultaneously. The alternative is to run the celery
owned by only one grower on all chains and then change over all
chains when the floor stock of rough celery for another grower
has been built up. The former system has the advantage of
fewer change-overs for an individual chain with less lost time.
The latter has the advantage that all of the celery supplied by
one grower comes off all chains at the same time. This reduces
accounting and sorting work after packing.
Under either system the celery is moved again by means of
"Number in parentheses refers to Fig. 37.
S- -- ------- -
4sn- -,i-' ____________
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"[ I I
1.UNLOADINO PLATFORM AND TEMPORARY STORAGE 10. CRATE CLODIMN TABLE
2. DUMPING TABLE 11. TRASH CONVEYOR (SUB-FLOOR LEVEL)
3. EMPTY FIELD CRATE OVERHEAD CONVEYOR It. CONVEYORS TO SORTING ROOM
4. STRIPPING CHAIN IS. SORTING FLOOR 0 8 Is
. WASHER 1. CONVEYOR TO PRCOOLER
|. SORTING AND PACKING CHAIN I6. PRECOOLER SCALE IN FEET
7. SORTING AND PACKING TABLES IS. LOADING CONVEYOR
. EMPTY PACKING CRATE CHUTE (OVERHEAD) IT. RAILROAD SIOING
7. FILLED PACKING CRATE CONVEYOR I. OFFICE
Fig. 37.-Diagram of a Typical Two-chain Celery Washhouse and Precooler. co
70 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
hand clamp-trucks from the temporary storage to the dumping
table (2). At this point a worker selects a field crate of celery
and lifts it to the dumping table with the open side of the crate
facing away from him. He turns the crate end over end, spilling
the celery in a pile on the table. The empty field crate is then
placed on an overhead conveyor (3), or stacked on the floor.
Another worker then feeds the celery in an even flow from the
dumping table to the stripping conveyor (4). The celery is
fed to the conveyor so that the stalks lie side by side with the
butts of the stalks pointing toward the worker. The dumping
table and stripping conveyor are each 48-inches wide so that
the same operation may be performed on both sides of the chain.
After the celery is fed to the stripping chain, workers stand-
ing beside the chain inspect the stalks and select those in need
of additional stripping. These stalks are then stripped and re-
placed on the chain. The strippings usually are dropped on a
trash conveyor which runs either underneath or beside the
chain. Some firms also have workers who trim the roots of
selected stalks after they have been stripped. The root trim-
mers ordinarily sit beside the chain just before the washer
After the celery is stripped and the roots trimmed, it passes
under a pressure washer. Water is sprayed on the stalks as
they move through the unit.
The celery then emerges from the washer on the sorting and
packing chain (6), which also is 48-inches wide. A line of
sorting and packing tables (7) is situated beside the sorting and
packing chain. Two workers, a sorter and a packer, work at each
table, facing toward the dumping table. An empty shipping crate
is selected from an overhead crate chute (8) and placed on the
end of the table about two feet from the side of the chain. The
sorter at the first table from the washer selects the largest size
celery to be packed. The next sorter selects the next largest
size to be packed and so on. If there should be a high percentage
of any one size, as many as two or three tables may be used to
pack the same size. For example, the workers at table 1 may sort
and pack sizes which total 212 dozen to the crate, and the next
table 3 dozen. Then two tables may be used to sort and pack
the 4-dozen size, two tables 6-dozen size, and one table each for
8's, 10's, and XX's. Stalks which do not fit any of these classi-
fications run over the end of the chain and fall on a trash con-
veyor (11). When prices for certain sizes do not justify pack-
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 71
ing, these sizes are likewise allowed to run over the end of the
chain onto the trash conveyor.
The sorter working next to the chain selects stalks of the
proper size and places them on the table. The packer, working
beside the sorter, then picks the stalk up from the table and
places it in the crate. Depending on the size being packed, a
specific number of stalks are packed in each layer in the crate.
When the crate is filled the packer motions to the "set-over"
man 12 who, after placing the lid on the top of the crate, lifts the
crate from the table to the packed crate conveyor (9).
The filled crate then moves along the conveyor to the closing
table (10). When a crate reaches the closing table an auto-
matic lever switch stops the conveyor. As soon as the crate is
pulled on the closing table the crate automatically releases the
switch, starting the conveyor until another crate reaches the
closing table. The shipping crate commonly used is wire bound
with four wires running around the crate. These wires are fas-
tened by means of loops into which a hand tool, called a "rocker,"
fits. A worker using this tool draws the wires tight and fastens
them. When the lid is fastened the worker removes the crate
from the closing table to another conveyor (12), which trans-
ports the crate to the sorting room. All crates from all chains
and of all sizes feed to this conveyor and are intermixed.
The sorting room (13) is used for dividing the crates into
lots by size and grower. This operation requires a crew of men
and a large space and involves considerable handling of crates.
When sufficient lots for loading have been accumulated the
crates are set back on the same conveyors (12 and 14), which
transport the crates into the precooler (15). From 10 to 30
minutes are required for the crates to pass through the pre-
cooler. The crates then emerge on a loading conveyor (16),
which usually runs the length of the loading platform. Loading
crews select crates from the loading conveyor and hand them
into freight cars on the rail siding (17). Sometimes portable
roller conveyors are used to roll the crates from the loading
conveyor into the freight car.
Most of the washhouses are arranged with a shipping crate
assembly room above the unloading platform. The assembled
crates are placed in slides and fall by gravity into the storage
chutes (8) ready for the packers.
"1"Set-over" man is a worker employed for the purpose of lifting the
packed crates from the packing table and placing them on the filled packing
72 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The manager's office (18) usually is located near the unload-
ing platform. The empty crate conveyor, used for moving
empty field crates out of the washhouse, leads to an outside
platform, where the crates are stacked and loaded on trucks,
which have previously discharged a load of celery. A shop
for repairing damaged field crates usually is maintained near
the empty field crate platform.
Numerous types of trash conveyors are used. Many of them
merely eject the strippings on the ground outside the wash-
house. More satisfactory types lift the strippings into an ele-
vated hopper equipped with a trap door, which permits the
waste celery in the hopper to fall into a truck.
VARIATIONS IN TYPES AND SIZES OF WASHHOUSES
Other than number of chains, the chief variation between
houses is in the length of the stripping chain. This depends
largely on whether or not a dumping table is used. Some firms
dump the celery on a dumping table, whence it is fed to the
stripping chain. Strippers, standing beside the stripping chain,
pick up and strip those stalks which appear to require stripping
beyond that done in the field. Other firms do not use a dumping
table but place the field crate beside the stripping belt so that
the strippers remove each individual stalk of celery from the
field box, strip it and place it on the chain.
Of 18 washhouse layouts observed in detail, 13 followed the
practice of dumping the celery from the crate on a dumping
table, while five had workers remove the stalks one at a time
from the field crates and place them on the stripping chain. Eight
of the 18 houses operated more than two chains. The largest
houses operated four chains and the smallest operated only one
side of one chain.
OPERATIONAL STUDIES OF CELERY WASHHOUSES
UNLOADING AND TEMPORARY STORAGE
Celery is hauled from the field to the washhouse in trucks
or trailer-trucks. It is unloaded by means of hand clamp-trucks
to the temporary storage platform of the washhouse. The celery
is then moved, as it is needed, from temporary storage to the
dumping table or stripping chain. The crates, stacked four
high on the trucks, are moved into and out of temporary storage
in the original stacks which were unloaded from the field trucks.
Unloaders not only unload the trucks but also move the celery
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 73
out of the temporary storage to the dumping table or stripping
chain. The number of unloaders employed by the nine wash-
houses studied in detail varied from 1 to 312 (Table 29). The
hours of labor required to move 10,000 stalks into and out of
temporary storage varied from 0.8 to 2.8 hours. The firm
using the most labor required 2/2 times more labor than the
firm using the least labor.
TABLE 29.-NUMBER OF UNLOADERS AND HOURS OF LABOR REQUIRED TO
HANDLE 10,000 STALKS OF CELERY, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Hours of Labor to Move
Number of 10,000 Stalks of Celery
Area Firm Unloaders Into and Out of
C 2 1.2
Sanford.................... F 3 0.8
D 2 1.0
P 2 2.3
Sarasota................... N 2 1.6
O 1 1.3
I 3%2* 2.8
Belle Glade............. M 113* 2.3
J 1 1/6* 2.3
In each of these firms, the same men, doing the unloading, also reloaded the empty
field crates on the trucks. By timing them while they worked, it was possible to allocate
the time devoted to each operation, and the equivalent number of workers was calculated.
The volume of business had a pronounced effect on the rate
of accomplishment of the unloaders. The unloading for three
houses which were operating three or four chains averaged
1.1 hours per 10,000 stalks. In six houses operating from 1/
to two chains, the average unloading time was 2.0 hours per
10,000 stalks. Unloaders employed by small firms are idle a
higher proportion of time than are the unloaders employed by
large firms. Some small firms use more unloaders than can be
kept fully occupied. This is done so that the trucks can be
unloaded rapidly, thus reducing the number of trucks required
to do the hauling. Two of the smaller firms were able to reduce
the time required by combining the job of reloading empty field
crates with the unloading job. In spite of this practice, both
of these firms still had an excessive amount of unloading labor.
One way small firms could overcome this difficulty would
involve the use of detachable trailers in place of trucks. The
loaded trailers could be hauled to the house and left in place
at the unloading platform. The celery would then be left in
temporary storage on the trailer, being moved directly from the
74 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
trailer to the chain as needed. This would necessitate a large
unloading space, but would eliminate the need for temporary
storage space as well as the labor involved in moving the load
into temporary storage by hand-truck.
One of the problems of maintaining a satisfactory force of
washhouse workers results from the lag in time in beginning
the field and washhouse operations. The field crews are usually
at work two or three hours before a sufficient volume of celery
has been hauled from the field to start the washhouse operating.
The field crews begin work at 8:00 a.m. and the washhouse crews
at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. The washhouse crew commonly works
until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Most firms have longer washhouse
hours than field hours and also have more difficulty keeping
washhouse labor. If it were economically feasible to enclose
the temporary storage and refrigerate it, a store of celery could
be built up the evening before, so that the washhouse crew
could begin work at approximately the same time the field crew
starts work. Adjusting the capacity of the washhouse to the
field volume should result in about the same working hours
in the washhouse as in the field. The temporary storage could
be refrigerated by connecting it up with the precooler, so that
when the precooler is shut down at night the cold water from
it (which is otherwise wasted) could be used to lower the tem-
perature of the celery held in temporary storage for the follow-
ing day. None of the organizations studied were using re-
frigerated temporary storage.
Some limited experiments were made in holding celery over-
night in temporary storage without refrigeration. It was done
quite successfully on cool winter nights but the great volume
of celery does not move until March, when the night tempera-
tures are high enough to cause considerable wilting. Spraying
the stored celery with cold water was also tried but little dif-
ference in wilting could be noted between the sprayed and un-
sprayed lots. The wilted celery appeared to regain its turgidity
after passing through the precooler, but no study was made to
determine how long such celery remained in a marketable con-
After the field crates of celery have been moved to the chain
by the unloaders there are several methods commonly used in
placing celery on the chain. To compare the two methods it was
necessary to combine operations occurring from the time the
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 75
unloader moves the field crates to the chain until the stalks
have been stripped and placed on the chain. For the "dumping
method" those operations consist of: (1) dumping the celery
and placing the empty crates on a conveyor, (2) feeding the
celery from the table to the chain, and (3) picking up and strip-
ping selected stalks and replacing them on the chain. In the
"stripping method" to reach the same end product, the oper-
ations are: (1) chain tenders carry field boxes to the stripping
stands and pick up the empty crates, (2) strippers pick up,
strip and place each stalk on the chain, and (3) root trimmers
select stalks from chain, trim roots and replace stalks. None
of the houses using the "dumping method" employed root trim-
mers in the washhouse. The time required to do each operation
by the two methods is shown in Table 30.
On an average, those firms using the stripping method re-
quired about 5.2 hours less field labor per 10,000 stalks, but
used 12.9 hours more labor in the washhouse. The use of less
field labor was due in large part to more effective methods in
the field and did not consist of savings at the expense of added
washhouse labor. In other words, the difference of 12.9 hours
per 10,000 stalks describes more closely the difference between
the two methods than does the total field and washhouse dif-
ference of 7.7 hours per 10,000 stalks. Based on 12.9 hours,
the difference amounts to 54 man-hours per acre 13 and, cal-
culated at 50 cents an hour for labor, the difference amounts
to 3.9 cents per packed crate. The dumping method apparently
saves a large quantity of labor.
There is some question about the quality of work done between
the two methods. Two of the firms using the stripping method
changed to the dumping method between 1944 and 1945. The
quality factor was not studied until after this change had taken
place, so that the same firms cannot be used in making the
Quality factors were studied in 15 firms, of which 12 used
the dumping method and only three used the stripping method.
The three using the stripping method were small firms and,
because of close supervision, might have had some advantage
in quality control. For purposes of comparing the two wash-
house methods, the quality factors have been divided into three
"' For comparisons among the nine firms, the weighted average celery
yield per acre was 688 packed crates, or 41,634 packed stalks.
TABLE 30.-HoURS REQUIRED TO CUT, STRIP, TRIM ROOTS AND PLACE 10,000 STALKS OF CELERY ON WASHER CHAIN
READY FOR WASHING BY THE "DUMPING" AND "STRIPPING" METHODS, NINE FLORIDA FIRMS, 1944 SEASON.
Dumping Method Stripping Method -
Field Cut Field Cut
ouse Strip- Field Washhouse Strip- Field
Firm Washhouse ping and Firm ping and
and Root Wash- Chain Root and Root Wash- 3.
Dump- Feed- Strip- Trim- house Tend- Strip- Trim- Total Trim- house
ing ing ping Total ming ing ping ming ming
C 1.2 1.2 1.2 3.6 28.6 32.2 P 2.3 14.0 4.7 21.0 26.2 47.2
F 1.0 5.3 2.1 8.4 30.0 38.4 N 1.7 14.8 1.6 18.1 17.3 35.4
D 1.5 1.5 3.0 37.0 40.0 O 1.2 14.0 1.3 16.5 22.2 38.7
I 2.9 1.7 6.6 11.2 15.7 26.9 M 4.2 20.9 2.8 27.9 15.2 43.1
J 2.0 2.0 10.0 14.0 15.7 29.7
age 1.7 2.3 4.0 8.0 25.4 33.4 2.4 15.9 2.6 20.9 20.2 41.1
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 77
The first group consists of stalks which were packed with ribs
or rib stubs which should have been removed by the strippers.
Of the celery handled by the dumping method, about 18 percent
of the stalks had defects of this nature, compared with about
10 percent of the stalks handled by the stripping method (Table
31). In addition, it was observed that many sound ribs were
removed by the latter method.
The second group of defects consisted of mechanical damage
which might have been caused by either the field or washhouse
crews. Stalks with loose ribs were by far the most common
form of mechanical damage. This defect occurs when the root
is trimmed too short, causing the outside ribs to fall loose
TABLE 31.-PROPORTION OF PACKED CELERY STALKS HAVING VARIOUS KINDS
OF DEFECTS, BY METHOD OF PLACING STALKS ON STRIPPING CHAIN, 15
FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Defect Dumping Stripping
Bad ribs or stubs:
One bad rib ........................ ............... 9.02 5.10
Two bad ribs .................. .............. .. -1.80 0.50
Three or more bad ribs .................... 0.18 0.02
Bad rib stubs ............-........................ 7.35 4.18
Total bad ribs or stubs ................... 18.35 9.80
Loose ribs ........................ ................ 10.92 15.24
Crowned ..... ............. .................... 1.13 1.32
Mechanical injury .............................. 2.79 1.67
Total mechanical damage ......... 14.84 18.23
Stunted ..-... ................ ..... .... 0.10 0.09
W orm injury .......................... ........... 2.90 2.43
Black heart .........--................... .. 1.06 1.37
Pink rot ....................... ..... ......... 0.17 0.09
W atery soft rot ...................-........... 0.36 0.05
Mosaic .................................. .... ...0.92 2.08
Pencil stripe ...................... .......... 0.56 0.19
Crack stem ..................-...... ..... .... 0.40 0.26
Pith ......... ..-... ............... ........ 1.36 0.90
Seeders ....... ...........0.15 0.05
Total natural defects .......... 7.98 7.92
Number of firms ...... ... ....... .............. -12 3
Number of stalks sampled ................. 25,861 5,761
78 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
(shatter). There was one-third more shattering in the celery
handled by the stripping method. Some of this difference in
shattering was the result of washhouse root trimmers retrim-
ming the roots too closely. There is a tendency among such
workers to retrim all roots regardless of whether or not they
need it. Also, the root cuts easier at the point where the ribs
join the root. The root trimmers in some washhouses without
doubt did more damage than good.
The third class of defects consisted of diseased and abnormal
stalks which should have been stripped or completely discarded.
The purpose of the comparison of this class of defects is to
determine to what extent such defects pass by the strippers
and reach the packed crate. Some of these defects are difficult
to see and many stalks with such defects slip by unnoticed in
either method of handling. This comparison is not as reliable
as the other two classes because all the celery of a number of
different growers is not affected to the same extent by diseases.
It is possible that there was a difference in the original condition
of the celery handled under the two methods contrasted. For
example, it is evident from Table 31 that a higher proportion
of celery handled by the stripping method was infected with
mosaic virus than that handled by the dumping method. Despite
this situation, it appears that natural defects were culled out
slightly better by the stripping method.
Considering the labor saved by the dumping method, it prob-
ably is the most efficient method as long as the present practice
of stripping in both field and washhouse is followed. Each stalk
is stripped in the field and each individual stalk is selected for
size by the sizers who also reinspect the stalk for defects. It
should not be necessary for the strippers in the washhouse to
handle each and every stalk a second time for the purpose of
Because the dumping method was the most common and prob-
ably most desirable procedure, the operation was studied in
detail with the aim of simplifying the job. The procedure fol-
lowed by all firms was essentially the same. The dumper turned
around, picked up a field box of celery from the stack which
the unloader previously had placed by the dumping table, then
lifted the 50-pound field box of celery to the dumping table and
turned the box over-end upside down. The dumper then either
placed the empty crate on an overhead conveyor or stacked the
empty box beside the dumping table. The dumper repeated this
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 79
process two to four times a minute. In all cases, the stripping
chain was approximately waist high. The dumping table was
built adjacent to the end of the chain in an apron-like fashion
with the table slanting downward toward the chain. This meant
that the dumper had to lift the field boxes about chest high
order tu h l
Fig. 38.-Sketch of Old and Improved Style Dumping Tables.
Worker fatigue is reduced because the field crate is not lifted as high in
order to dump the celery.
80 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
in order to place them on the dumping table. The hands of the
dumper were approximately shoulder high when the box was
placed. This made the lifting of the field crates awkward,
placing considerable strain on the worker's back. The dump-
ing table was redesigned so that it was not necessary to lift
the crate so high, and so that by placing one hand underneath
the crate and lifting upwards, it could easily be turned over-end
(Fig. 38). This eased lifting the crate to the table and simpli-
fied dumping it. The differences in the rate of feeding were not
timed, because the speed of sorting and packing governs the
rate of accomplishment of the dumper. The table was designed
primarily to ease the operation.
The new table was made of sheet metal, bent to shape. One
sheet measured about 48" wide and 36" long and served as the
feeding surface. A second piece, 48" wide and 13" long, was
rounded and welded to the first sheet. A third sheet, 48" x 15",
was welded to the second piece at a right angle to form an apron,
on which the field crate could be placed prior to dumping.
HANDLING EMPTY FIELD BOXES
After the celery was dumped out of the field box the dumper
either placed the field box on an overhead conveyor or stacked
the empty boxes on the floor. Most of the larger firms used
overhead conveyors while many of the smaller ones stacked
the crates for the unloaders to cart back to the trucks. In
small plants where the unloaders are not fully occupied or where
the handling of the field boxes at the terminal end of the empty
field box conveyor does not require the full time of one man,
the latter practice is logically the more efficient. No detailed
time study was made of this operation.
It was observed that, for empty field crate handling, overhead
hook conveyors had several advantages over belt conveyors,
although the cost of the hook conveyor is relatively high. It
is easier for the dumper to place the crate on the hook conveyor
and the danger of a crate jamming in the conveyor is eliminated.
Also, the hook conveyor has a larger capacity, which becomes
an important consideration in a washhouse which operates three
or four chains.
When the stripping method is used the extra handling of
field crates to get them from the stripper to the conveyor largely
offsets any advantage of using empty box conveyors.
Empty field box conveyors, in general, have the chief advant-
age of moving the empty boxes to a side platform for reloading,
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 81
thus keeping the unloading platform clear of congestion. This
usually is not an important problem in small plants.
Under either system of empty field box disposal provision
should be made for storing broken field boxes. This is a small
detail, overlooked by many firms, and broken boxes are conse-
quently a constant source of congestion either in the washhouse
or on the platforms.
After the celery has been stripped and placed on the stripping
chain it passes under the washing unit. Types of washing units
are not well standardized. All the units are about the same
size, but the water pressure of the spray nozzles varies con-
siderably. Some units spray only from the top, while others
spray from the top and also flood water over the celery by means
of revolving water wheels, built into the sides of the washer.
The latter type of unit does the better job of washing.
Celery grown on muckland is more difficult to wash than that
produced on sand, because particles of muck adhere between
the ribs. Although the celery appears clean when it emerges
from the washer, muck particles float out of the celery and
give the stalks a dirty appearance when the crates of celery
pass through the precooler. Improved washing units are needed
particularly in the muckland areas.
The efficiency of various types of washing units was not com-
pared in this study.
SIZING AND PACKING
After the celery emerges from the washer it is ready for
sizing and packing. Most washhouses have from nine to 12
packing tables on each side of each chain. A sizer and packer
work as a team at each table, the sizer working next to the
chain. The table nearest the washer is used for the largest
size celery and the smallest size celery (usually size XX) is
packed on the last table along the chain.
The job of the sizer is to select a particular size of celery
from the chain and to place those stalks on the packing table.
Using the stalks selected by the sizer, the packer fills the pack-
ing crates following a standard packing pattern which has been
adopted for the various sizes.
Of the nine firms studied in detail, seven used the system
described above. The labor required per 10,000 stalks ranged
from 21 to 26 hours for the seven firms (Table 32). Firm M,
which spent 17 hours of sorting and packing labor per 10,000
82 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
TABLE 32.-COMPARISON OF TIME REQUIRED TO SORT AND PACK 10,000
STALKS OF CELERY BY NINE DIFFERENT FIRMS, FLORIDA, 1944 SEASON.
Hours of Labor per 10,000 Stalks
Area Firm Total Field and Washhouse
Sorting and Root Trimming and
Packing Stripping Time
C 21.2 32.2
Sanford..................... F 11.5 38.4
D 24.1 40.0
P 21.0 47.2
Sarasota.................. N 21.4 35.4
0 22.9 38.7
I 23.1 26.9
Belle Glade.............. M 17.0 43.1
J 26.0 29.7
stalks, and firm F, which required only 11.5 hours for the same
job, used modified systems which proved much more efficient.
The six firms C, D, P, N, 0 and M used about the same number
of sorters and packers, while firms I and J used approximately
11/ packers for each sorter. This was done by having one
sorter select two sizes and having one packer for each size.
This was usually done only for the very large or very small
sizes. For the more common sizes, these firms commonly used
one sorter and one packer as a team. From observation, it
appeared that the packer had less to do than the sorter. Some
efforts were made to time both sorters and packers, but the
problem of adjusting the time by the greatly varying rate of
work could not be satisfactorily overcome. Nevertheless, it
was quite obvious that many firms could have advantageously
used a ratio of one packer to two sorters for such small sizes
as 8's, 10's and XX's.
Firm M followed the practice of having one sorter and one
packer work on two sizes, particularly the 2's, 21/'s, 8's, 10's
and XX's. The volume of any one of these individual sizes was
not large enough to keep one sorter and packer occupied over
50 percent of the time. Because firm M took advantage of an
opportunity to adjust working conditions to the job to be done,
only 17 hours of labor were used per 10,000 stalks.
With the exception of firm F, all firms made no apparent
effort to keep all their sorters and packers busy.
Firm F made a large saving of labor by combining the jobs
of the sorter and packer. Each worker was both sorter and
packer. As stalks were selected from the chain they were placed
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 83
directly in the crate. When the crate was filled it was pushed
aside and an empty crate was taken from the crate chute. For
the more common sizes, two, three or four packers were used
so that while one worker was replacing a crate the next worker
selected the celery that had been permitted to pass by. With
a little training the workers soon learned to place a new crate
with one hand and at the same time sort from the chain with
Managers of many firms refused to try this faster method,
although they realized that they could save five or six minutes
of labor per crate. They were opposed to using the system for
sorting and packing only the smaller or extremely larger sizes,
the volume of which, out of an ordinary run, is ordinarily in-
sufficient to keep one person busy. The chief arguments used
against the system of a single person doing sorting and pack-
ing were that a worker could not sort out the proper size, con-
centrate on packing and at the same time get the correct number
of stalks in each crate. The managers would not consider the
possibility of slowing down the packing chain to give the work-
ers more time to sort out the proper sizes and place the stalks
directly in crates.
To determine the effect of various packing methods on ac-
curacy and quality of pack, a detailed study was made of the
packs put up by 15 firms. Two of the firms packed directly
from the sorting chain. Results indicate that there is little need
for slowing down the sorting chain to obtain a good, accurate
pack by packing directly into the crate from the chain.
In making the study of the 15 firms, only 511 packed crates
were examined, but every stalk in the crate was examined in
detail. The crates were selected at random, care being taken
to select different sizes. Only four or five crates for an in-
dividual firm were examined in one day and the samples were
taken throughout the season.
Of the 511 crates examined, 68.5 percent were packed with
both the correct number of stalks in the crate and the correct
number in each layer in the crate (Table 33). An additional
4.1 percent of the crates had the correct number of stalks, but
they were placed in the crate out of order. Of the 511 crates,
about 20 percent were either under- or over-packed within a
tolerance of about 5 percent, while about 7 percent were under-
or over-packed beyond the tolerance.
"" See footnote to Table 33.
TABLE 33.-PROPORTION OF CELERY PACKED CORRECTLY AND DESIGNATED DEGREES OF INCORRECTNESS BY 15 FLORIDA
FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Number Packed Correct, Within Tolerance* Beyond Tolerance* o
Firm of Crates Correctly Packed Over Under Over Under Total
Examined Wrong Count Count Count Count
A 23 87.1 .... 4.3 4.3 4.3 .... 100.0
B 27 92.6 .... 7.4 ...100.0
C 35 71.4 2.9 2.9 22.8 ........ 100.0
D 34 73.5 5.9 5.9 11.8 2.9 .... 100.0
E 17 82.3 5.9 5.9 .... 5.9 .... 100.0
F 33 87.9 3.0 .... 9.1 .... .... 100.0
G 31 41.9 6.4 9.7 19.4 .... 22.6 100.0 tt
H 55 69.1 1.8 16.4 5.5 3.6 3.6 100.0 R
I 38 42.0 15.8 15.8 13.2 13.2 100.0
J 30 16.7 10.0 23.3 30.0 ... 20.0 100.0
M 31 67.7 9.7 9.7 12.9 ... ... 100.0
N 65 67.7 6.1 6.1 13.9 3.1 3.1 100.0
O 37 91.9 2.7 2.7 2.7 .... 100.0
P 29 58.7 6.9 20.7 6.9 3.4 3.4 100.0
R 26 88.6 3.8 .... 3.8 .... 3.8 100.0
Total or average ........ 511 68.5 4.1 8.6 11.6- 2.5 4.7 100.0
Tolerance: An allowance of one stalk for sizes 1%, 2, and 2V; two stalks for sizes 3 and 4; three stalks for size 6; four stalks for size 8; and
six stalks for size 10. The percentage allowance varies from 3.3 to 5.6.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 85
Firms B and F packed celery directly from the sorting chain
into the packing crates. Of the crates packed by firm B, al-
most 93 percent were packed correctly. None of the other firms
had a higher percentage of their crates packed correctly. Firm
F required about half the time it took others to sort and pack
celery, yet only three out of the 14 other firms had as high a
percentage of the crates packed correctly, and one of those
(firm B) was also using the direct packing method. Firm J
used the most labor for sorting and packing (Table 32) and
had the lowest proportion of their crates packed correctly. On
occasion when the quantity of certain sizes was limited, firms
G, I and J followed the practice of using two packers for one
sorter. The packers, therefore, had much excessive time on
their hands. In spite of this, all three of the firms had far
below average accuracy of pack.
The accuracy of the pack tends to be increased as the time
available for packing decreases. This does not necessarily hold
true between firms using the same method. Actual hours of
labor per 10,000 stalks were obtained for nine of the 15 firms.
The time used by the other seven can be judged by the system
The lowest accuracy as to pack was obtained by those firms
which used one sorter for each packer but on occasions used
one sorter to two packers. The belief was held that one packer
could not simultaneously pack two sizes accurately. Actually
higher accuracy was obtained. The packer did not switch from
one size of celery to another before completely filling one crate.
While one crate was being packed, the celery for the other size
was allowed to accumulate on the table. The packer, therefore,
was able to work at a constant rate with no loss in accuracy.
The packers with a large amount of idle time on their hands
had more chance to lose count of the layers or stalks.
From the data obtained in this study, the common assump-
tion that the same worker, sorting and packing, will lose count
is certainly not valid. The error in this assumption probably
arises from the fact that packers do not mentally count each
stalk. The motions of packing soon become more or less auto-
matic. When so many cycles have been completed, the worker,
as a matter of course, begins another layer. Close observation
of the packers of firms B and F revealed that when there was
an odd number of stalks to the layer, the layer was started by
"15 See Table 1 of Appendix C.
86 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
first placing one stalk in the crate. For the balance of the
layer, the stalks were placed two at a time. In this manner the
stalks, if anywhere near the correct size, fill the layer when
the last two are placed, making it impossible to place two more
stalks in the same layer without a great deal of difficulty.
Similarly, it is immediately apparent if two stalks are left out
of a layer. This system is obviously not as reliable for judging
the number of stalks in a layer of very small sizes of celery,
such as 10-dozen sizes. The 8-dozen size is packed 12 stalks
to the layer so that if two stalks were left out, the layer would
be only five-sixths full.
The smaller sizes of celery were less accurately packed than
the larger sizes (Table 34). Comparatively few crates of sizes
ll/, 2 and 21/) dozen were examined. These sizes were not
examined for all firms because they were either not being
packed or were not common enough to occur in the sample. Of
the 106 crates of size 3-dozen examined, about 78 percent were
packed correctly. Of 111 crates of size 6 dozen, almost 69 per-
cent, and of 46 crates of size 10 dozen, about 37 percent were
packed correctly. Of sizes 8 and 10 dozen, 10.5 and 13 percent,
respectively, of the crates contained the correct number of stalks,
but the stalks were miscounted in the layers. Approximately
one-third of the crates of size 10 dozen contained fewer stalks
than represented by the size, and over two-thirds of these were
short by more than six stalks.
Because of the relationship of the size of celery and the ac-
curacy of packing, it is important, in making comparison be-
tween firms, to consider the relative number of crates of the
various sizes examined for particular firms. In selecting the
crates to be examined no effort was made to select a given pro-
portion of the various sizes. Except for a few crates of the
larger sizes, however, the relative number of crates of the vari-
ous sizes examined for each firm were fairly comparable.1"
The accuracy of the numerical count in the pack, within a
reasonable tolerance, probably is not so important a price-
determining factor as is the quality of pack. But quality,
unlike accuracy, is difficult to measure objectively. Further-
more, many factors other than packing technique determine the
quality and appearance of a package.
Some indication of quality was obtained by juding the ex-
cellence of job done in "facing" the package, in sizing the celery
"" See Table 2 of Appendix C.
TABLE 34.-PROPORTION OF CRATES PACKED CORRECTLY AND DESIGNATED DEGREES OF INCORRECTNESS BY SIZE OF
CELERY, 15 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Number I tL
Size Stalks per Crate of Count Within Tolerance Beyond Tolerance
of Crates Packed Correct, __ Total
Celery N r Tolerance Exam- Correctly Packed Over Under Over Under I
Number Range ined Wrong Count Count Count Count -
Dozen I i__ Percent
1%1 18 17- 19 4 100.0 .. .. .. ........ 100.0 .
2 24 23- 25 10 100.0 ...... ....... 100.0
22 30 29- 31 26 61.6 11.5 7.7 .... 11.5 7.7 100.0 ,
3 36 34- 38 106 78.3 2.8 11.3 6.6 1.0 -- 100.0
4 (48 46- 50
(50 48- 52 141 75.2 0.7 7.1 12.1 2.1 2.8 100.0
6 72 69- 75 111 68.5 0.9 6.3 18.0 2.7 3.6 100.0 -
8 96 92-100 67 56.7 10.5 11.9 13.4 1.5 6.0 100.0
10 (119 113-125
(120 114- 126 46 37.0 13.0 10.9 13.0 4.4 21.7 100.0
Total or average ................ 511 68.5 4.1 8.6 11.6 2.5 47 100.0
Total or average ................... 511 68.5 4.1 8.6 11.6 2.5 4.7 100.0
88 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
and in arranging the tops in the package. These three factors
were each measured by grading each of the 511 crates examined.
Five letters, A, B, C, D and E, were used on the record form
to indicate, respectively, "excellent," "good," "fair," "poor,"
"very poor." These were averaged by assigning arbitrary
weights to each grade.17 Very little difference was found in
the quality of job done in facing the packages, sizing the celery,
or arranging the tops in the package under the various systems
of sorting and packing. The three firms which used one packer
for one sorter, but on occasion used two packers for each sorter,
did the poorest job of facing the crates and sizing the celery.
In general, a slightly poorer job was done in facing the pack-
age, sizing the celery and arranging the tops in the package
by the two firms using the system of packing directly from the
belt into the crate. However, these same firms did a more ac-
curate job of packing the correct number of stalks per crate.
In view of this, and the fact that direct packing saves a tre-
mendous amount of labor, other Florida firms would do well to
consider the adoption of the direct packing technique. It can
certainly be used to advantage for the less common sizes, on
which a tremendous amount of labor per stalk is expended.
The direct packing method, insofar as the more common sizes
are concerned, probably works best when there are two or three
packers packing the same sizes. In this way there is less dan-
ger of a given size being allowed to pass by the packer while
an empty crate is being placed in position.
LENGTH AND ARRANGEMENT OF PACKING CHAINS
The number of packing tables along the packing chain de-
pends upon the length of the chain. The larger the number
of tables, the greater is the flexibility in adjusting the number
of packers for any given size. Such flexibility is important in
the efficient use of labor. The proportion of celery in the various
sizes varies markedly between different fields and types of celery.
Golden type celery runs heavily to sizes 4 and 6-dozen to the
crate while Pascal type runs more heavily to the larger sizes
(Table 35). Of the Golden celery, 22 percent of the crates con-
tained 8-dozen or smaller sizes, while only 12 percent of the
crates of Pascal were of these small sizes. If space on the chain
is limited so that only one worker can pack each size, the output
of all the workers on the chain is limited by the size in greatest
"1 See Tables 3, 4, and 5 of Appendix C.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 89
volume. If there is one additional table on the chain so that
two tables are used for the most common size, then the time
to pack the second most common size is the factor limiting the
output of all the other workers. With such a change, the in-
dividual output of each of the two workers packing the most
common size decreases, while the output of the remaining work-
ers increases. The washhouse output can be affected materially
by adjusting the number of workers packing certain sizes.
This is one of the most important problems in operating the
TABLE 35.-NUMBER AND PROPORTION OF CRATES AND STALKS BY SIZES
AND TYPES OF CELERY, 18 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Type Crates Stalks
of Size Number of
Celery Number* Percent Dozens Percent
11/ 74 ** 111 **
2 4,785 ** 9,570 **
212 65,202 3 163,005 2
3 288,813 15 866,439 8
Golden 4 621,278 31 2,485,112 22
6 566,599 29 3,399,594 30
8 245,018 12 1,960,144 18
10 127,044 6 1,270,440 11
XX 68,378 4 1,025,670 9
Total ................................ 1,987,191 100 11,180,085 100
1I/ 4,956 ** 7,434
2 75,552 6 151,104 3
22 148,888 13 372,220 7
3 268,490 23 805,470 16
Pascal 4 356,463 30 1,425,852 28
6 190,256 16 1,141,536 22
8 73,139 7 585,112 11
10 37,490 3 374,900 7
XX 20,921 2 313,815 6
Total ....... ............ ...... 1,176,155 100 5,177,443 100
Omits 18,673 crates of Golden hearts and 632 crates of Pascal hearts.
** Less than 0.5 percent.
There is an economic limit to the length of packing chain and
the number of packing tables on each chain. For this study, the
number of tables on one side of the packing chain varied from
eight to 15. The firms following the system of packing directly
from the chain into the crate used the largest number of tables.
When a number of workers are packing the same size, with
packers at the first table always getting the first choice of the
90 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
stalks, there is some question as to the uniformity of the pack-
ages put up by the various packers handling the same size.
To measure this variation, the 511 crates examined for quality
were weighed. A variation in the weight of the crates was
found between the various sizes. Crates containing 21/2 dozen
and 3 dozen stalks weighed an average of 66.8 and 69.2
pounds, respectively (Table 36). Those holding 4, 6, 8 and 10
dozen weighed, on the average 71.2, 74.2, 76.3, and 75.0 pounds,
respectively. The packages put up by the individual firms re-
vealed a similar relationship except for crates containing 10
dozen, which were the heaviest packages put up by seven of the
15 firms. Crates containing 10 dozen were lighter in some
cases, primarily because of a shortage in the numbers of stalks
in the crates. These data show that size must be held constant
in comparing weights of crates put up by packers working in
various positions on the packing chain.
The average weight of the crates packed by the second of
two packers packing the same size was less than the weight
of the crates packed by the first packer (Table 37). This
relationship held true for each of five different sizes of celery
on which weights were obtained. In no case was over one
TABLE 36.-AVERAGE WEGHTS OF CRATES BY SIZE OF CELERY PACKED BY
15 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Firm 1% 2 22 3 I 4 6 8 10
A .... .... ... 69.0 71.5 72.9 73.2 79.5
B .... -. ... 70.8 72.3 73.7 81.4 82.7
C .... 72.0 72.5 73.6 75.5 74.3
D I.. 70.0 70.0 69.0 71.7 75.7 77.9 79.4
E .... 58.5 69.7 68.5 70.0 74.2 78.0 80.0
F .. .. .... 69.0 71.8 72.6 74.1 72.8
G ... .... 71.0 70.1 73.9 77.1 76.6 79.5
H ... .... 66.8 67.6 71.4 73.2 78.8 80.2
I .... 58.8 59.5 68.1 70.6 74.8 74.3 75.2
J ... .... .... 73.2 69.1 73.7 74.0 69.3
M ... .... .. 66.6 66.9 70.7 72.5 69.0
N .... 65.2 68.4 71.2 72.5 77.0 78.2 77.1
0 .. .... 70.6 72.5 75.6 74.3 71.8
P 69.4 67.2 68.2 72.9 75.7 68.0
R 62.4 62.1 64.4 65.2 68.2 70.5 71.5 68.5
average .......... 62.4 62.5 66.8 69.2 71.2 74.2 76.3 75.0
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 91
packer observed packing sizes 1/%, 2 or 10 dozen. Three packers,
putting up the same size, were observed for sizes 3, 4 and 6
dozen, and in each case the first packer packed the heaviest
crates. It will be noted also that there was a wider variation
in weights between the successive packers, when three packers
were packing the same size than when two were packing the
same size (Table 37). The reason for this variation in weight
may be explained by the tendency of the packers to select the
largest sizes of celery as the stalks move down the packing chain.
As a result, the larger the number of packers handling a given
size on a particular chain the wider will be the variation in the
weight of crates for that size of celery. This is one of the in-
herent weaknesses of the present system of packing. How this
and other weaknesses might be overcome is discussed on page 97.
After the crate is filled a paper liner is drawn over the top
of the stalks and the lid of the crate is pulled up into position
for closing. The size is then marked on the crate with a crayon
or rubber stamp and the crate is set on a conveyor.
In many houses a special employee stamps the crates, pulls
the lid into position for closing and sets the crate on the con-
veyor. The crate moves to the end of the conveyor where it
passes over a trip-switch, which stops the conveyor. As soon
as the crate is pulled on the closing table, the switch is released
and another crate moves down on the conveyor, while the first
one is being closed.
Practically all crates used in the Florida celery business are
the wire-bound (Howard) crates. These crates have four wires
running around the crate for reinforcement. These same wires
serve as hinges on the back of the lid and as clasps on the front
of the lid. A number of operation analyses were made of crate
closing. The procedure in all cases was essentially the same.
After the crate was pulled on the closing table the right hand
straightened the paper liner while the left hand worked the lid
into place. A closing tool, called a "rocker," was palmed in
the right hand. This tool has a large wooden handle. While
the left hand held the lid in position the right hand pounded
the left end of the crate with the handle of the rocker until
the end of the crate fitted under the lid. The rocker was then
fitted into the wire loop, which was tightened and fastened.
The same procedure was followed on the right end of the crate,
after which the two center wires were tightened and closed.
TABLE 37.-AVERAGE WEIGHT PER CRATE BY SIZES OF CELERY AND NUMBER OF PACKERS ON A GIVEN CHAIN PACKING
INDIVIDUAL SIZES, 18 FLORIDA FIRMS, 1945 SEASON.
Number of Packers Size Average
Packing Given Size | I All
1'/2 2 2Y2 3 4 6 8 10 Sizes
Only 1 packer ................... .................- 62.4 62.5 68.4 69.9 69.9 74.4 75.9 75.0 72.7
(1st packer ........................... ..... ...... 64.0 69.6 71.5 75.2 85.0 ...... 71.7
2 packers (2nd packer ...................... .... ...... 62.8 68.6 70.5 72.8 80.5 ...... 70.7
(lst packer .............. ......... i ..... ...... 70.0 75.4 75.0 ...... ...... 74.9
3 packers (2nd packer .......... ........ ...... ...... ...... 65.8 72.3 ...... ...... .... 70.8
(3rd packer ............................. ...... ...... 65.8 70.2 68.5 .. ..... 68.9
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 93
The most difficult part of the procedure is pounding the heads
of the crates into position so that the lid will close over them.
The packed celery in the crate causes the heads to bulge out-
wards. Pounding on the heads not only bruises some of the
celery in the crate but also frequently splinters some of the
veneer wood and materially weakens the crate. The operation
chart of this procedure revealed that the left hand was engaged
__ __ OPERATION CHART
LEFT HAND DESCRIPTION SYMBOL SYMBOL RIGHT HAND DESCRIPTION
Posit b; 3hee 7 w^tde on here f lodd^tlpnoI length s-eq^ired.
Fig. 39.-Operation Chart of Original Method of Closing Celery Crate.
In closing the crate the right hand performed 13 work elements.
94 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
r-h \ ______
Fig. 40.-Celery Crate Closing Device.
As the crate is pulled onto the device the foot pedal is depressed,
bringing the holding arms into position to hold the ends of the crate in
place while the top is fastened. The lower part of the adjustable holding
arms automatically positions the crate for equal pressure on both ends.
primarily in holding the crate (Fig. 39). This suggested a
holding device. The right hand did most of the work, which
consisted of pounding the heads into position. This suggested
a clamp which would also serve as a holding device. The prob-
lem was taken to the University of Florida Engineering Ex-
periment Station. An engineer constructed a model which was
taken into the field for trial. In testing the device it was dis-
covered that the clamps which held the sides of the crate would,
with a minor adjustment, also automatically position the crate
on the closing device. A second model was built (Fig. 40)
which was adjustable for minor variations in the sizes of crates.
This model was tried out successfully in a number of wash-
houses and the specifications for constructing the device were
The operation of closing crates is greatly simplified by using
this device. The crate is pulled on the table by hand."s De-
"1 Consideration was given to extending the conveyor over the device
so that the crate would automatically stop in position, but this idea was
abandoned because it prevented the next crate from being moved into posi-
tion while the first crate was being closed and thus caused unnecessary
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 95
pressing the foot pedal of the device places the crate in position,
draws the heads into place and holds the crate while the wires
are fastened from the left to right. The foot pedal is then
released and the crate set off the table (Fig. 41).
It was noted, in making the original operation charts for
crate closing, that practically all the workers closed first the
LEFT HAND DESCRIPTION SYMBOL SYMBOL RIGHT HAND DESCRIPTION
~~Pt~blK~h,(~;";~~mh- --ln ------~~----~---- -
Paste bIahJ 3heet 7 de hte .f oddtqnol Iength 1 quired.
Fig. 41.-Operation Chart of Closing Celery Crate with the Aid of the
Crate Closing Device Illustrated in Fig. 40.
Following this procedure, the right hand performed only seven work
96 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
left end and then the right end, leaving the two wires around
the center of the crate until last. The workers could give no
reason why they closed the wires in this particular order. It
was found that the crate would close easier by closing the wires
from one end to the other in order. By so doing, less of a bulge
was left in the center of the crate. Consequently, the last end
was easier to fit over the head of the crate and fasten.
No attempt was made to time the workers closing crates.
Every washhouse employed one man to close crates for each
side of a packing chain. The output of the crate closer was
thus dependent on the output of the packing chain and not on
the efficiency of the worker closing crates.
SORTING, PRECOOLING AND LOADING
After the crates are closed they are placed on conveyors and
sent either to the sorting room or directly into the precooler.
Ten out of 15 firms for which floor plans were obtained used
sorting rooms. Some of the larger firms that had sorting space
did not use it. Other houses without such space were planning
to provide it by additional building.
There are good arguments both for and against sorting prior
to loading. In general, the sales department encourages the
use of a sorting room because more exact orders can be filled.
If several cars are being loaded the sorting room provides for
temporary storage of a quantity of a given size of celery which
can all be sent into the precooler and loaded into one car with-
out the necessity of keeping the doors of another car open and
thereby losing refrigeration.
The management of practically all firms stated that the use
of a sorting room required additional labor. As the crates came
off the packing chain, all sizes were mixed up. Some sorting
must be done either in the cars as they are loaded or on the
floor before the crates go into the precooler.
No effort has been made in this study to analyze the labor
involved in sorting, precooling or loading. The problem of
sorting depends largely on size of business, type of sales outlet,
available floor space, and whether precooling facilities are avail-
able in the washhouse. There are about as many different ar-
rangements for precooling as there were firms studied. Some
owned their precooling unit, but it was on a rail siding while
the washhouse was several miles away. Still others contracted
with private firms to do their precooling and loading.
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 97
NEED OF IMPROVEMENTS IN WASHHOUSE ARRANGEMENT
The arrangement of present-day washhouses is not conducive
to the efficient use of labor. The efficiency with which many
operations can be performed depends not on the ability and skill
of the individual operator concerned but rather upon the output
of some previous operation. This is true of most assembly-line
In the case of celery washhouses each side of a stripping and
packing chain constitutes an assembly-line process, within which
there is only a limited amount of flexibility for balancing the
amount of work among the various workers. The method was
first established by small firms using only one chain. In recent
years many houses have expanded by adding a second, third
or fourth chain. A firm using four chains, therefore, has eight
separate assembly-line processes, each with only a limited flexi-
bility for balancing the amount of work each individual in the
line has to perform and, in addition, allows for no flexibility
Packers and sorters constitute the great bulk of washhouse
labor and, as explained previously,1" the accomplishment of all
the sorters and packers depends on the team of sorters and
packers which has the largest volume to handle. Likewise, the
accomplishment of the team is automatically limited by the
output of either the sorter or the packer, depending on which
is the faster.
The individual who closes the crates can close only as many
as the packers on one side of a chain pack. A four-chain house
employs eight crate closer, each of whom is engaged in pro-
ductive work for only part of the time.
The present system of sorting out sizes on the packing chain,
placing the packed crate on a conveyor to be mixed up with
other sizes, only again to be resorted by size in a huge sorting
room, constitutes a paradox. The sorting rooms of many wash-
houses are as large as the space occupied by the balance of the
The lack of flexibility between individual chains could be over-
come by handling all celery on one rather than on many as-
sembly lines. One possible way this might be done would be
to have all the celery deposited on a common stripping and sort-
ing chain. The individual sizes sorted from this chain would
be placed on cross conveyors so that all of one size would pass
"" See section on sorting and packing.
98 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
to a common point for packing. Such a system would allow
for a maximum of flexibility between the number of sorters
and packers, would help overcome the difficulty of the first
packer packing heavier crates, and would result in the auto-
matic sorting of packed crates of a common size and thus
eliminate the need of a sorting room.
On many occasions during this study 16 workers were ob-
served in a four-chain house sorting and packing sizes 10's
and XX's, when the total number of stalks of these sizes on all
chains combined was not large enough to keep over two persons
fully occupied had they been on a common chain.
Much experimentation is needed before plans for such a re-
vised arrangement could be completed. A "pilot" plant would
have to be constructed, experimented with, and probably rebuilt
many times before such plans could be considered complete.
It goes without saying that such a project carries beyond the
scope of this study, other than that the findings of this study
indicate the problem.
PART III- DISTRIBUTION AND SELLING
Very little information is available concerning the selling and
distribution of Florida celery. For the most part, it is limited
to data included in daily Federal-State Market News Service
reports, statistics released by the Crop and Livestock Reporting
Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, and
the Federal Census on Agriculture, published by the Depart-
ment of Commerce. Such reports include data on volume of
rail and truck shipments, daily price ranges for specified sizes
and types of celery on the F.O.B. market, daily car-lot arrivals
and price ranges on a limited number of the largest markets,
county acreages, and production and value data by states. Pro-
duction and value data by counties were made available begin-
ing with the 1946 crop.
To obtain additional information, sales records for the 1945
season were secured from 18 Florida firms. These data covered
six firms in each of the three major producing areas. The six
firms in the Sanford area handled about 37 percent of the total
volume sold by these 18 firms, compared with 36 percent in
the Belle Glade area and 27 percent in the Sarasota area. This
An Economic Study of Celery Marketing 99
represented about two-thirds of the total Florida celery crop.
A large sample was considered necessary because of the exist-
ence of a number of major price-influencing factors, such as
variety of celery, size, grade, basis of sale and date of sale, all
of which should be held constant for the purposes of measuring
the influence of any one factor on price.
MARKET NEWS SERVICE REPORTS
Market News Service reports on the marketing of Florida
celery are issued by the Production and Marketing Administra-
tion of the United States Department of Agriculture, in co-
operation with the Florida State Marketing Bureau. Reports
covering prices and car-lot shipments are issued daily, with the
exception of a few weeks at the beginning and end of the celery
season. Prior to 1946 reports concerning the Florida crop were
issued from the Sanford area only. During the 1946 season
reports were issued from both Sanford and Belle Glade areas.
Daily reports during the 1945 season included price ranges
on the F.O.B. market for Golden celery of "generally good mer-
chantable quality and condition." One price range was reported
for sizes 3 and 4 dozen and another range was given for sizes
6 to 10 dozen.
These daily bulletins are used widely in the trade. They
serve both to indicate the trend of the market and as a basis
for many sales and claim settlements. For this reason it is in
the interest of all parties concerned to know how reliable these
reports are, as well as how they might be improved.
The prices reported by the Market News Service have been
frequently criticized because of the wide spread in quoted prices.
One reason for this wide spread has been the inclusion of a
number of sizes in a particular price quotation. In general, the
smaller sizes sell at a lower price than the larger sizes. Sizes
3 and 4 dozen Golden celery usually have brought about the
same prices, but there has been a wide variation in the prices
received for sizes 6, 8, and 10 dozen.20
The price ranges reported by the Market News Service for
F.O.B. sales of sizes 3 and 4 dozen Golden celery of "generally
good merchantable quality and condition" were compared with
the prices received by 18 Florida firms for F.O.B. sales of sizes
3 and 4 dozen Golden celery of U. S. No. 1 grade. These 18
"2 For discussion of price differentials for the various sizes of celery,
see page 105.