The beautiful island of Jersey is home to the most unique potato crop, Jersey Royals, famed and favoured by chefs and housewives alike, these small, tender potatoes, so young they barely have skin, are like gold nuggets at the beginning of the season, prized and initially very hard to get hold of. I can only liken the harvest experience to that of the Beaujolais Nouveaux run of excitement. The first, smooth, almost shiny potaotes are unearthed , often from sunsoaked but steep hillside fields known as Cothils,and immediately brown -bagged to prevent damage from sunlight. They are whisled away for sorting, brown bagged again and shipped off ,largely, to the mainland, though locals do grow and sell their own around the island. Rustling is not uncommon and fields are often gaurded 24hours once the Royals are ready!
The potatoes are planted and therefore harvested in succession, extending the season from the beginning of March, weather permitting, right through to the beginning of June. The final crop is often then harvested as 'mothers' for next years crop,carefully gathered and piled high in wooden slatted crates to facilitate the process of chitting, which benefits the following years crop. Chitted potaotes are traditionall hand planted and often covered in huge sheets of plastic to help get the potato crop off to a good start.And thus the cylce begins again.
Local Michelin Star Chef, Mark Jordan, at the Atlantic Hotel on Jersey, uses as much local produce as he can and eagerly awaits the onset of the Jersey Royal season, adjusting his menus accordingly.
Keywords:Chef, Jersey, Jersey, Michelin, Potaotes, Potatoes, Royal, Star
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