Jersey Benne harvest delayed

While the new potato season is being celebrated in a national campaign, North Otago's Jersey Benne harvest has hardly begun.

Potatoes New Zealand is promoting the ''humble potato'' with television advertising, having showcased varieties, recipes and nutritional facts to food writers and the media at an Auckland event. Potato growers from throughout the country took along samples of their produce being dug this month.

However, a shortage of cauliflower and broccoli has prompted one of North Otago's biggest growers to delay his potato-digging.

Peter Armstrong, of Armstrong and Co, plants potatoes on several properties in the Totara and Kakanui areas south of Oamaru, where the soil and microclimate result in sought-after Jersey Bennes.

He works closely with fellow growers Bill Jamieson and Jimmy Gin to gain economies of scale and produce reliable supplies that can earn good prices from the supermarkets and stores they deal with.

Mr Armstrong said Mr Jamieson was the main source of the Jersey Bennes available locally so far.

The Armstrong and Co workforce was picking brassicas.

''We've got a massive amount of cauli and broccoli to cut. There's a very big shortage of cauliflower. We're not cutting anything else at all.

''It's nice for a change,'' Mr Armstrong said on Friday.

Meanwhile, Potatoes New Zealand urges everyone to tuck into potatoes.

''All New Zealand-grown potatoes are GE-free and packed full of health benefits,'' it said in its November Means New Potatoes material.

''They are fibre-rich, have more potassium than a banana, and are bursting with vitamin C. Easily digested, full of antioxidants, rich in minerals and they make you feel fuller for longer. Pretty spudtacular, isn't it?

''Their short season means we all need to make the most of their delicate skin and sweet, tender flesh. We encourage you to get those premium new season potatoes on your menus now - while they last!''


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