The Jersey Royal Company has been supplying Tesco for 25 years. William Church, sales and marketing director, explains the unique farming methods that help to bring you the most famous potatoes in the world
The Jersey Royal season runs from April to July
The earliest outdoor crops are available from early April, with peak volumes during May and June.
The location of the fields is important
Our earliest potato crops are grown on côtils: very steep south-east facing slopes. This means they catch the first rays of sun, which helps the potato reach maturity faster.
All our potatoes are planted by hand
We do this so that all potatoes are facing the same direction, with the sprouts a little bit pointed upwards. The idea behind this is that they will reach maturity quicker. We are harvesting a crop in 12 weeks, whereas a main crop potato could be in the ground for 18-20 weeks.
Jersey Royals have a protected designation of origin
This means that they can only be grown in Jersey. It’s a bit like champagne coming from Champagne, Parma ham from Parma. It’s the only potato to have this status. Collectively, the island is exporting somewhere in the region of 30,000 tonnes of potatoes. This is quite a lot for an island that is only nine miles by five miles.
The Jersey Royal Company uses seaweed to fertilise the soil
Known as ‘rack’ locally, we spread the seaweed on to the potato fields. This definitely adds something to the flavour as it’s full of minerals and is a natural soil fertiliser. Jersey Royals have a wonderful, sweet, nutty taste and a waxy texture.
I like to boil mine
There’s a lot of debate about the best way to cook a Jersey Royal potato. Some people like to steam them but I prefer to boil them for 20 minutes. When you can just put a knife into it and it drops off, you know they are cooked perfectly.