Potato company gets onside with Rashford food scheme

- Advertisement -

The Island’s biggest grower, The Jersey Royal Company, has joined forces with FareShare, which distributes quality surplus food to over 10,000 frontline charities and community groups across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 began in March 2020, the England international footballer’s campaign to end food poverty and fundraising efforts have enabled FareShare to distribute the equivalent of more than 21 million meals for children and families.

Island charities have also benefited this year from donations of potatoes that failed to meet food retailers’ requirements for processing and packing. And Jersey cows have also been enjoying free feeds of the Island’s biggest agricultural crop.

Mike Renoaurd, the Jersey Royal Company’s business unit director, said: ‘The consumer now demands that their potatoes are pre-washed and packaged and washing shows up all the defects which need to be removed, so a lot of the washed waste is given to dairy farmers as stock feed.’

The Island ships about 30,000 tonnes of Jersey Royals to the UK every year, with The Jersey Royal Company producing about 70% of total exports.

Mr Renouard said that around 10% of the annual crop goes to waste, largely due to weather conditions.

He said: ‘Depending on how quick the crop grows depends on how many oversize [potatoes] we may produce too. This year, with the cold weather in April and May, the crop grew very slowly so we have not had any oversize. A small percentage is also graded out due to greening, skin defects, mis-shapes or harvest damage.’

However, he added, crop waste is much lower today as farming practices have become more efficient Mr Renouard said: ‘We plant to a more precise programme planned against predicted customer demands.

‘The company has built up a lot of data over the years to help us predict how the crops will develop and retailers are able to provide more accurate selling programmes.

‘But by far the biggest influence is still the weather and no one can predict that more than two weeks ahead with any accuracy.’

The remainder of crop surplus – including the original seed potatoes – is used as a natural pest control against potato cyst nematode or eelworm, which poses a big threat to the Jersey Royal crop as it damages roots and tubers.

Mr Renouard said: ‘Apart from the waste going to the dairy industry, most waste is spread back on the land using mechanical flail spreaders that chop the potatoes.

‘This releases a small amount of exudate [fluids] from the tubers which encourages some pests such as eelworm to hatch thinking that a potato crop is growing.

‘However, these potatoes don’t grow and produce the roots that the eelworm would feed on so they starve, reducing pest numbers in the soil.’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.