Farmer Philip Clappison has been growing and harvesting potatoes in partnership with McCain on his farm in Cowlam Grange, East Yorkshire, for more than twenty years. As a potato specialist and contractor he’s also entrusted to grow potatoes for lots of other farms, looking after 3,000 acres of potato fields in total. We paid a visit to the farm to watch some of Britain’s best potatoes being harvested.
The potato harvest runs from July to late October, with the different potato varieties being harvested only when absolutely ready. At face value it’s a simple process, but it takes an expert eye to know when the time is right, waiting for the leaves of the plant to change colour, carrying out a test dig and sampling the quality of the potatoes to ensure they meet our standards.
If all the signs are right the potato harvester will get to work, covering around 15 acres of land and harvesting around 1.3 million potatoes a day. Once harvested the potatoes are graded by hand and sampled to make sure the sugar levels and quality is right, and to remove any stones, before heading to McCain where the quality is checked again. Only then, when we are confident that the potato quality is perfect, are our great British potatoes made in to the great British chips that our customers love.