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Schools, media, WIs, Overdale, Constables and Co-op all celebrate potato-growing success

Date: 03/06/2016 | Posted by John Garton

The biggest-ever Genuine Jersey Royal Potato Growing Competition concluded last week with all classes being weighed.

In the schools’ competition, which involved all 32 primary schools, St Christopher’s won the heaviest crop award for the second year running, with Reception J’s potatoes coming in at a weighty 1.315 kg. Runners-up Bel Royal Nursery were not far behind, with the potatoes in their bucket weighing 1.281 kg.

St Peter Reception won the schools’ most-tubers competition with 69, closely followed by runners-up Mont à l’Abbé Class 3 with 67.

St Lawrence – whose judging featured in a recent episode of BBC Countryfile programme – once again won the award for the best presentation, while St Mary won a judges’ special commendation for its presentation on the Jersey Royal.

For the first time, Overdale Hospital took part in the competition. Growing the heaviest crop were pain clinic clients with 770g, closely followed by the Overdale gardeners with 650g.

In the Constable’s competition, John Le Maistre of Grouville took double-honours, with 34 tubers and a total crop weight of 1865.1g. Michael Paddock of St Ouen was runner-up in the tuber competition (25) and Juliette Gallichan of St Mary had the second heaviest crop (1094.4g).

In the media competition, the BBC’s Charlie McArdle was also a double winner, with 67 tubers weighing 1326.8g. Hannah Bechelet of ITV Channel was second in both competitions with 26 tubers weighing 1112.5g.

In the WI competition, St Helier Sirens’ crop weighed a mighty 2364.3g, although La Pouquelaye branch won the most-tubers competition with 30. Runners-up were La Moye (29 tubers) and Hels’ Belles (1334.6g).

Finally, in the Co-op competition, Locale Georgetown won both titles, with 34 potatoes weighing 901.1g. Double runner-up was Pontac, with 23 tubers weighing 704.9g.

In addition to the main sponsor Co-op, the competition is supported by Belles Fleurs Nursery, the States of Jersey Public Health Department and The Jersey Royal Company.

The challenge is to see who can grow the heaviest crop and highest yield of the Island’s world-renowned potato. Schools also get to learn about the health-giving properties of a balanced diet based on fresh local produce when it is at its seasonal best.  

Each competitor receives a growing kit comprising two Jersey Royal seed potatoes, polystyrene chips, compost and fertiliser – and a bucket to grow them in.

Now in its tenth year, this popular highlight in the primary curriculum attracts more entries year on year. This year, the 50,000th primary school pupil has taken part in the competition.