Freshly dug treasure...
Yippee, it’s spring! For me this is such an exciting time of the year, the cold winter seems far behind us and the days are warming, but for all us Jersey folk we also start to spot the farmers out in the fields picking our first batch of Jersey Royals.
Thankfully these treasures are a branded potato and the only potato in the United Kingdom to boast an EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, similar to that enjoyed by other products such as Champagne and Parma Ham.
It's known that the story of the Royal is steeped with history, but the reason they taste so good is because of the Jersey soil and for some with the addition of a seaside fertilizer. The soil on our island is light and well drained and with our huge tidal movements this also brings seaweed up onto our beaches, of which many farmers use as the fertilizer.
Some might say they’re our islands treasure and we all know they are no comparison to the regular kind, with their soft papery skins that give of their unique nutty taste, you can’t beat them. We’ll start to see an abundance of the crop from April till June, but getting your hands on the first pick feels extra special. There are plenty of hardworking growers dotted around so make sure you source your gems straight from them if you can, a true Genuine Jersey producer.
Like other foods that are planted and nurtured, our farmers have been at it since around November time when the first lot are planted within glass houses, followed by the outdoor planting in January all the way until April. Just as they feel they might be in for a rest period the picking begins and they harvest up until July.
We’re also a diverse island with a mixture of flat fields and others so steep the tractor can’t be used. For these steeper areas known as côtils almost all the work is done by hand.
These picked potatoes are bundled into trucks but not quite ready for export as they will be checked twice by workers and quality controllers to ensure they meet the expected standards. The speed on this is key to ensure we are buying them at their freshest so we can reap the full benefits.
So, go out and find your nearest pick! If you’re not sure who your nearest grower is and want to pick some up from their honesty box on your way home take a look at a list by clicking here.