16th May 2014

Jersey Royal potato company is taken over

The Jersey Royal potato is one of the island’s most distinctive and best-known exports, which is why it was big news when, in 2014, Produce Investments bought the company behind it for £15m, having improved upon the £12m it had originally given as a guide price for the acquisition. Produce Investments is based near Chirnside in the Scottish borders and is the parent company of one of Britain’s biggest potato producers.

Two years previously, Jersey Royal exports had declined by around 10% after a difficult growing season. The following year, the crop was delayed by snow and generally colder weather.

Working by hand

Planting starts in December of the year before the potatoes, traditionally one of the earliest “new” potatoes, are to be harvested, on south-facing, steeply sloping fields. Each potato is planted by hand, with the company moving on to flatter fields as the planting season continues. It takes around three months for a seed potato to produce a full crop, ready for harvest.

The Jersey Royal company grows potatoes on 1800 hectares of land spread around Jersey, and packs over 30,000 tonnes of the vegetable annually. This makes it Jersey’s largest land-user. The first Jersey Royal potatoes were planted by Hugh de la Haye on land at Bellozanne valley. The potatoes were initially marketed under the name Jersey Fluke, only taking on the Royal moniker towards the end of the 19th century.


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