Irish potato growers are this week beginning to harvest the first new season Queen potato crop of the year, a firm summer favourite in Irish homes. The weather conditions in Ireland this year resulted in a three -week delay in their arrival but, the great news for consumers is that the hot weather has produced a wonderfully floury potato, which is packed full of flavour.
Irish people are huge fans of new season Queens which are perfect for summer meals, barbeques and summer salads. According to Bord Bia* in 2017 Irish households purchased more than 10,000 tonnes of Queens, equivalent to over 50 million servings of potatoes. (*Kantar Worldpanel figures)
Paud Flynn and Sons from Rush in North County Dublin is Ireland’s largest grower of new season Queens. A fifth-generation family business, the farm is run by five brothers and their sons. Speaking about this year’s crop, Laurence Flynn said, “This has been the hottest, driest summer since 1976 resulting in drought conditions. It has been really hard work to grow our potato crops this year but thankfully in spite of the challenges we are finally able to harvest and bring them to market. Our yield is definitely lower than normal years but their taste is delicious!”
TV dietitian and nutritional expert, Aoife Hearne is Bord Bia’s Potato & Fresh Produce Ambassador. Visiting Laurence Flynn’s farm in Rush she said, “What is wonderful about potatoes is that they are a totally natural food and what we lift from the ground here today can be immediately cooked and enjoyed. We need to dispel the myth that potatoes are fattening or that carbohydrates are bad for you. Consuming potatoes is to be encouraged as we all need good quality carbohydrates for our bodies and particularly for brain function. Potatoes are naturally fat and gluten free, a great source of fibre, Vitamin C and a variety of B vitamins. They also contain three times the amount of potassium found in bananas.”
Bord Bia is advising consumers that the best way to enjoy new season Queens is to steam or boil them because of their floury texture which means that they almost peel themselves.
Lorcan Bourke, Fresh Produce & Potato, Manager Bord Bia, said “New season Queens are synonymous with the taste of Irish summer and are known for their floury texture, delicate new season skin and excellent taste. This year new season potato growers throughout Ireland have had to put in valiant efforts to deliver the crop for all of us to enjoy.”