Jersey Royal potatoes
Jersey Royal potatoes are famous for being the UK’s favourite new potato and are renowned for their unique taste, flavour and delicate skins.
The potato has been grown on Jersey for over 130 years. Today there are approximately 20 island farmers who grow Jersey Royals, many of whom grow potatoes and no other crops. The potatoes are grown on approximately 16,500 vergees (approx. 7,300 acres).
The Jersey soil is light and well drained and many farmers still use seaweed harvested from local beaches as a natural fertilizer (it is known locally as ‘vraic’). Jersey has some of the most formidable tidal flows in the world and the strong movement of the sea deposits large quantities of vraic on the shore. The practice of using vraic on the land dates back to the 12th century.
The main outdoor crop is planted from January to April, with harvesting from the end of March through to July. They are at their most plentiful and flavoursome from April to June, when up to 1,500 tonnes of Royals can be exported daily.
Potatoes planted on the early slopes are hand lifted, with mechanical harvesters used only for the later, flatter fields. The fields on slopes near the coast, known as côtils, are so steep that almost all the work is done by hand—hence the premium price.
Once harvested, the level of care continues at each stage. Jersey Royals are checked twice by workers and quality controllers before being packed and loaded into refrigerated trailers for export. The potatoes are harvested, graded, packed and shipped daily to ensure that consumers are buying them when they are at their freshest and finest.
Besides being unique to Jersey, the Jersey Royal enjoys EU protection of designation of origin in much the same way that France was granted sole use of the word ‘champagne’.
These delicious potatoes are also gaining popularity with more and more consumers, who want to know exactly where the produce they eat comes from – each Jersey Royal can be traced back to its field of origin. New potatoes, like wine, have varying flavours depending on where and how they are grown. Not only are Jersey Royals the first of the UK season, but they are also seen as a benchmark for quality.
Some of our Jersey Royal recipes:
- Patatas bravas with Jersey Royals
- Hasselback Jersey Royal potatoes with marjoram
- Sautéed Jersey Royal potatoes
- Pan seared salmon and Jersey Royals (served with a purple watercress, English asparagus and blood orange salad with a watercress and tarragon dressing)