2nd September 1906
The first grower of Jersey Royal potatoes dies
Jersey owes a great debt to Hugh de la Haye, whose potato-growing operation at Bushy Farm, Mont Cochon, formed the basis of what remains the island’s most important physical export.
It seems unlikely that de la Haye could have known what the future held when he bought a couple of well-sprouted potatoes, which he’d spotted in the window of a grocer’s shop (some sources say he brought them down from his loft), cut them into pieces and planted them on his farm, on a steep hill overlooking Bellozanne Valley.
From small beginnings…
As the Jersey Evening Post reported on 6 October 2010, “When the small crop was ready, he dug up the plants, boiled some of them, and found the taste much superior to his commercial farming crop. So he saved the rest as seed potatoes, harvesting again the next season, and gave some of the crop to his friends as seed for their use. Within four years he had harvested enough to be able to exhibit them in the windows of the French-language newspaper, La Nouvelle Chronique. From then on the so-called ‘Jersey Fluke’ potato was being sold commercially.”
Exports to the mainland
The Jersey Fluke, later Royal Jersey Fluke and, eventually, Jersey Royal, was first exported in 1859. Its reputation grew and it remains one of the most famous potatoes in the Channel Islands, British Isles and beyond. Close to 100% of the potatoes grown on Jersey – around 1500 tonnes per day – are exported to mainland Britain.
Although the crop has protected origin status, meaning only potatoes grown in Jersey can be called Jersey Royals, they are not under the control of a single grower. More than 20 growers now contribute to the annual crop.
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Other events that occured in September
Jersey police chief’s son campaigns for killer’s reprieve
- After Frances Joseph Huchet was sentenced to be hanged, the Jersey police chief's son campaigned for his reprieve.
- Read more…