Back in the ‘good old days’ day – when you could rely on summer being hot and winter being cold – Jersey Royals signalled the arrival of spring. This year however, March and April brought gale force winds, never ending rainfall and inch-upon-inch of snow. The weather really has been relentless and we’ve been having a good ‘weather moan’ on a daily basis, but the impact it’s had on fresh produce has been devastating. Jersey Royal farmers and producers have worked around the clock covering and warming up their crop to try and ensure the spuds make it onto menus this spring. Until the warmer weather came it was a waiting game for dozens of farmers and their families who faced the possibility of having some, or even all, of their crop wiped out this year.
Earlier this week I visited the tiny 9x5 mile Island, where farmers were breathing a huge sigh of relief. The wait was finally over. The sun was shining down and workers were tirelessly harvesting the côtils (steeping slopes) and fields by hand to start shipping potatoes to the mainland. The potatoes looked full and healthy – and tasted absolutely wonderful with a bit of salt and butter!
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll begin seeing more and more potatoes in the supermarkets, which go from field to fork in around 24 hours for the freshest taste. Plus they’ll even still be available into July, which is quite unusual, as a late start means a late finish to the season.
Demand for the potatoes is great this year and supermarkets are likely to sell out fast in the first few days as the public snap them up, but over the next couple of weeks harvesting will hit full flow and there’ll be Jersey Royals around every supermarket aisle!
Posted by Caroline Addy