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Jersey Royal earlies are not so early this year

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FROSTY weather in late February prevented any real growth of the normally early Jersey Royal potato crop this year which in turn has delayed the harvest by almost one month and shrunk yield by 20%.

Growers of the Jersey Royal, who have to manually plant and harvest the variety on the island’s steep slopes, say this is the worst season they have encountered for over 40 years.

Sub-zero temperatures in February blown in from Siberia frosted the potatoes even though they were covered in plastic.

Jersey Royals can be normally grown in about three months on the island’s well drained light soils and usually milder climate.

Spuds are planted from January through to April with harvesting from March to July. At peak harvest the growers can export in the region of 600 to 700 tonnes per day to the UK mainland.

Around 30,000 tonnes of Jersey Royals are exported to the UK each year, but this year’s harvest will provide an estimated 24,000 to 25,000 tonnes for the market.

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