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Genuine Jersey Royal Growing Competition Launched

Date: 19/01/2009 | Posted by John Garton
Local primary schools are being invited to take part in the third annual Genuine Jersey Royal Growing Competition. Twenty one schools took part in last years challenge to see who could grow the greatest weight of potatoes. St Lawrence School has won the competition for the past two years and have already signed up for 2009 in the hope of scoring a hat-trick.

The competition is organised by the Jersey Royal Potato Company and sponsored by the Genuine Jersey Products Association and Health Promotion Unit.

Tom Binet of the Jersey Royal Company says: "Jersey Royals are the Island's biggest export crop and when in season account for a large percentage of all potato sales in the UK. Farmers in Jersey have been working with the Jersey Royal for well over a hundred years and this competition is fun way of passing some of that experience to a new generation of Islanders.”

The event is designed to support many areas of the school curriculum by showing children how things grow, where food comes from, understanding the history of the Jersey Royal and the importance of a balanced healthy diet. To support their entries, schools also submit class work which in the past has involved projects in English, History, Geography, Science and Mathematics.

John Garton is Chief Executive of Genuine Jersey Products Association. He says: “There is huge support for this competition and we are delighted to be able to offer it to school children once again. The Jersey Royal is an iconic product which continues to be hugely significant to the Island in terms of its heritage and economy. The competition provides a great way of teaching young people the historical importance of the Jersey Royal as well as relating it to today’s learning.”

Each primary school class to enter will receive a growing kit which includes seed potatoes, a container, compost, fertilizer and teaching aids. Growing kits will be sent out to all participating schools at the end of the month (January).

Headteacher of St Lawrence School Chris Jones says pupils have been eagerly awaiting the return of the competition because it makes learning in so many areas fun.

Mr Jones says: “There are high hopes for St Lawrence this year and we don’t want to disappoint. Pupils really enjoy the fact they are responsible for taking care of a crop and I know there will be a great competitive spirit between classes hoping to produce the healthiest plants.”

As part of the competition, the Jersey Royal Company is offering schools the chance to visit nearby potato fields and their packing houses to see how commercial crops are grown and harvested.

The results of the four-month contest will be judged by a panel of agricultural experts and will be announced in May.