The very earliest crops are planted in December in glasshouses or polytunnels.
Jersey Royals are planted by hand, taking special care to make sure that the shoots are placed uppermost to ensure even and early emergence.
The earliest outdoor fields planted are the very steep south facing coastal slopes called côtils. Because of their steepness, aspect and proximity to the coast the soil is generally light, free draining, warms quickly and has some frost resistance. The steepness of the fields means that they are unsuitable for machinery and so they are ploughed and planted using hand ploughs pulled by a winch cable from the top of the côtil. These fields are very labour intensive however, produce the earliest potatoes.
The next fields to be planted are generally the lighter sloping fields followed by the heavier inland areas.
The crop is lifted as an immature, flaky-skinned product and is ready for harvest at around 12-13 weeks.
Harvesting begins at the end of February in limited volumes from the glasshouses and polytunnels. Earliest outdoor crops are available from early April with peak volumes through May and June. Supply then continues through to the end of July. The early côtils are hand-picked, having first been ploughed out of the ground using winch ploughs.
All our potatoes reach the packhouse within 1 hour of harvest where they are checked and graded by our Quality Control team before the packing process can begin.
A full traceability system is in operation allowing each pack produced to be traced back to the field of origin. Our potatoes are size graded, washed and inspected prior to packing in a range of pack sizes and formats to suit our customer's individual needs.
Potatoes grown for seed are lifted from late June, through July.
It is first placed loose in chitting trays and left until November when it is worked, graded and ‘stood’. This process involves the initial primary shoots being rubbed out to encourage (ideally) three further apical shoots to develop.
This seed is graded into six sizes and “stood” with the apical shoots uppermost in the chitting trays.
The seed is carefully managed using lights and fans to ensure that it is at its optimum state of development for planting in January, and is regularly inspected throughout this part of the cycle.