Busy pack house
Primary grading sorts the potatoes into different sizes, and these are then washed and packed to supermarket specifications.
Harvesting starts indoors at the end of February digging crops grown in greenhouses and tunnels. Volumes start to build as teams move outside, and supply starts into the retailers from the end of March.
When the season gets in to full swing packing promotional volumes, field teams are working very long days, and this is mirrored by staff on the primary grader, whereas the pre-pack area operates 2 shifts round the clock.
The vast majority of Jersey Royals sold now-a-days are in washed pre-packs, and this part of the operation runs round the clock during the peak weeks.
At the start of the grading and packing process, Jersey Royals get brought in to the central packing operation at Peacock farm on trailers carrying 6 tonne bins.
A 100 tuber sample is taken from each 6 bin load, washed and inspected. The quality results are posted in the company's bespoke computer system, and each bin is given a unique barcode as part of the traceability of the potatoes from the field through to the end pack.
During the primary grading process the potatoes are graded into different sizes.
Each bin of graded Jersey Royals is scanned onto the washing line. The potatoes pass through a barrell washer and then go over sponge rollers to remove excess surface water.
They continue their journey across grading tables where 'greens' and other damaged potatoes are removed, and then go up an elevator to the multi-headed weighing machine before ending up in a pack.
Lorries come up and down to the pack house throughout the day to transport the finished product down to the quay in preparation for overnight shipping across the channel to Portsmouth.