The coldest Easter since 1894 and the wettest winter in 50 years means that Jersey Royal potatoes are running well behind their usual start.

Soil temperatures are a third lower than usual at this time of the year running at 6.5°C rather than 10°C and while daytime temperatures are barely hitting 9°C, it has been dropping to freezing at night. William Church, who returns to the Jersey Royal Company as sales and marketing director after a 20-month break said: “We always do sequential plantings but these have been interrupted because of the wet weather. Temperatures have not even hit double figures so the whole development of the crop is delayed.”

At this point in the season, liftings have usually started in earnest on the outdoor early slopes on the island, but it will be late April or even early May before any significant volume will be lifted outdoors. Church said: “We are running about two to three weeks behind recent seasons, but everyone is in the same boat; Cornwall has had frosts and a torrid time trying to plant…there is a shortage on the market so we know there is healthy demand.”

Yields could also be down from the average five tonnes an acre in Jersey to just two to three tonnes. Church said: “Once you plant, a potato can only be in the soil for a certain amount of time. Some of the early liftings will be lighter in volume and tuber sizes might be slightly smaller. But that’s not to say we won’t have a good May and June; there is plenty of moisture in the soil and the crop is grown under plastic.”

Meanwhile, JRC, which accounts for some 60 per cent of the island’s Jersey Royal crop has launched a new 500g pack with Tesco designed to highlight the premium quality of the Jersey Royal brand (pictured). It retails at £4.