Puffin Produce, Wales’s largest supplier of fresh produce, has declared the arrival of summer as the first Blas y Tir Pembrokeshire Earlies begin to arrive on supermarket shelves.
Grown exclusively in Pembrokeshire, these small oval shaped potatoes, with a soft flaky skin and distinctive fresh, earthy and nutty flavour, are one of Wales’s food highlights of the year.
Pembrokeshire Earlies have been grown in the south-west region of Wales since the 1700s and their unique qualities can be attributed to the ideal climatic conditions. Pembrokeshire enjoys a mild, frost-free climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream hugging the picturesque coastline. The soil is also well-drained, rich and packed full of nutrients.
Pembrokeshire Earlies have their own Protected Geographical Indicator status (PGI), meaning their distinctive quality, authenticity and heritage is protected.
Puffin Produce says its growers, who have been producing Pembrokeshire Earlies for generations, have a sensitive understanding of the local conditions, which is vital to the final outcome of the precious potatoes.
Growers begin the planting programme when the ground begins to warm up, which usually falls between the end of February and Mid-March each year. They’re then harvested between 12-15 weeks later.
“This season we experienced a dry, cool April followed by a wet May, which means that the potatoes need a little longer to reach their optimum size,” says Stephen Mathias, head of field services at Puffin Produce.
“Moreover, we have worked hard with our growers to ensure a high attention to detail is given to all crop operations during the growing period, to ensure we continue to deliver our promise of unique and unbeatable quality."
Pembrokeshire Earlies are one of 16 products that enjoy coveted GI status in Wales - among a feast of proudly Welsh products such Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and Anglesey Sea Salt. Their popularity with consumers is testament to Wales’s growing appreciation and desire for quality local produce.
Huw Thomas, managing director at Puffin Produce said: “The arrival of our first Pembrokeshire Earlies is always met with excitement and anticipation. Over the years we’ve seen a huge increase in demand for our Blas y Tir Pembrokeshire Earlies - nothing beats that early fresh full flavour that many people say signals the beginning of summer!”
Pembrokeshire Earlies season runs from June until mid-August, and can be found in all major retailers throughout Wales.