Tesco has begun selling rare and high-quality gourmet heritage potatoes that would normally be sold in upmarket restaurants.
Specialist Northumberland grower Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes usually supplies top restaurants across the UK, working with chefs such as Tom Kerridge and Jamie Oliver, however its business has been hit by the closure of the eating-out sector during the coronavirus crisis.
The firm has been left with hundreds of tonnes of high-quality potatoes, and while some of these could have been put in limited storage space, a lot would have ended up rotting.
Tesco is now selling four of these varieties at up to 600 of its stores nationwide - Red King Edward 1916, Violetta, Shetland Black 1923, and Yukon Gold 1980.
All four varieties will be on sale while stocks last and will be priced between £1.25 and £1.45 per bag.
Tesco potato buying manager Ben Rowbotham said: “We are really honoured to be able to sell these wonderful-tasting luxury potatoes that would not otherwise be readily available in UK supermarkets. These are some of the best-quality heritage potatoes around in the UK and the fact that they are snapped up by top restaurants and celebrity chefs is testament to that.'
Lucy Carroll founded the business with her husband Anthony 20 years ago but diversified into growing rare, heritage varieties in 2005. “These are not commercially grown heritage potato varieties and we produce them for a niche but loyal market of gourmet chefs and restaurants,' she explained.
“We produce them twice a year, right now in mid-spring and then later in autumn so the current pandemic could not have come at a worse time for us. Through word of mouth we made contact with major UK potato supplier Branston who work with Tesco and who managed to help us find an outlet. We are very proud that for the first time ever our heritage potatoes will be available to buy on high streets across the UK.”