“Our operations aren’t just about what goes on within our farm, there’s a much bigger world and supply chain out there which has a huge knock-on effect on our sustainability. For us to operate we need the market and the weather to be favourable and during the past few years both aspects have been hit. When you’ve got a customer like McCain and you know your product has somewhere to go, you can work with much more confidence. We couldn’t have produced with the weather in recent years without the tools that we’ve invested in, through McCain’s support. The flexibility in the funding from McCain has also allowed us to create a solution that is fit for our own farm, which is immensely helpful. The systems aren’t just for this year either, it’s going to help our farm and production year-after-year, meaning we can build a more sustainable future.”
“The build up to the perfect chip starts in January when we receive a delivery of McCain seed potatoes from Scotland. We then decant the seed potatoes into trays for around 2 months until the potatoes are well sprouted, or chitted, and ready to go into the ground when the weather is warmer.
“Our job as farmers, is essentially to harvest the sunshine, and chitting helps us to do this because it helps us to achieve the maximum crop canopy for the longest day. All of this helps us to grow the best quality potatoes for McCain, and gives us time to harvest the potatoes before the winter weather arrives. All of this usually takes place between 1st April and 5th November but is always dependent on the weather. In an ideal year I’ll have all my potatoes safely tucked up in storage by bonfire night.
“My father delivered one of the first loads of potatoes to the McCain plant in Scarborough in 1968, and I’ve continued to grow potatoes for McCain ever since. Hopefully my son James will now come into the family business and continue our tradition with McCain for years to come.”