The first of the new potatoes are now available and with early signs indicating that quality, size and volumes are looking good, prices are expected to ease over the coming weeks.
This morning Williams Potatoes in Exeter, Devon, had its first consignment - 300 tonnes of Accord from Cornwall - and is expecting Maris Bard in next week.
Director Philip Williams comments: “The quality is looking very, very good, there’s been no blight around this year and we’ve had nice dry weather, so we’re finding they are cooking up really, really well.”
Although supply is a little bit tight at the moment, by the weekend this is expected to ease as farmers release more stocks, which will naturally impact on price.
Philip adds: “We’re looking around £10.50 a bag right now, but as every week goes by that will drop a little bit and we will certainly see prices starting to ease.”
While the warm weather has been a positive for growing conditions, Philip warns friers they must look after their potatoes. “Because of the weather, the potatoes are hot when they come out the ground so we are keeping them in our stores at about 10°C to keep them in the best condition. Friers need to do the same their end by making sure they are kept somewhere cool around 10°C also.”
Peter Gwyn & Sons, which delivers across North Wales, is expecting its first batch of Accord from Anglesea by the end of this week, followed by varieties from Shropshire and Cheshire soon after.
Owner Peter Gwyn comments: “We had our first sample in last week and I have to say the size is good and the quality is excellent. We’re expecting them to be around £10.50 a bag when we first get them but that will definitely start dropping as the weeks go on.”
With the warm weather expected to continue, the potato merchant recommends friers only buy what they need, adding: “I always say don’t overstock, buy what you need for the next three to four days.”
The Wrexham-based merchant has produced a poster which reads "Frying new potatoes from Peter Gwyn and Sons" for shops wanting to promote the change over to customers.