Jersey Royals are set to hit the shelves of shops up and down the country over the next couple of weeks as the new season gathers momentum. Hopes are high for the 2010 crop following a good yield in 2009.
Jersey Royals are the first genuine new potato of the season, which typically starts in late March and runs through to July, and are eagerly awaited by consumers for taste and quality.
Alongside this, the famous new potato remains one of the few remaining seasonal vegetables available and has the additional accolade of boasting an EU protection of designation of origin, or PDO status. At the peak of production in May, up to 1,500 tonnes can be exported daily.
Each year, retailers and consumers await delivery of Jersey Royals, and the appetite sees no signs of slowing down. Despite the import of overseas varieties, consumers still anticipate the arrival of Jersey Royals as the trend for eating seasonally grows and consumers demand the best tasting fresh produce at its natural peak.
Jersey Royal new potatoes celebrated a bumper year in 2009 as island exports totalled around 33,000 tonnes. The two main Jersey Royal export organisations on the island – The Jersey Royal Company and Albert Bartlett (Jersey) – saw an increase due to the better weather in 2009 versus 2008. Initial cooler weather conditions meant a slight delay to the start of the season but through February and March growing conditions were ideal.
A staggering 55% of Jersey’s total area is in agricultural or horticultural use, of which 42% is in Jersey Royal cultivation, making agriculture Jersey’s third biggest industry after finance and tourism.