Potato harvest: Drought affected sizing, quality though shortage ruled out

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British potato farming is “not in a particularly good place at the moment” after a difficult harvest, a leading farmers union has warned, though ruling out any shortage on the shelves this season. 

Tim Rooke, chair of the National Farmers Union’s potato forum, told Sky News earlier this week that the summer drought had affected potato sizing and quality. 

“Certainly, the fresh potatoes that you buy from the supermarket may not just be as big as we’d hope they’d be and maybe they’ll have a few more blemishes on them than normal,” he said. 

While shortages on shelves are not expected, Rooke said people would “have to accept that the chips that we buy may not be as long as they normally are”. 

NFU Potato Forum chair’s warning comes as food brand Mash Direct has reported a successful potato harvest this year. The prepared veg brand, which grows six different types of potato, will continue to harvest into October and use the crop to create its potato products including Mashed Potato and Curry Chips. 

The company is expecting up to a 30 percent rise in potatoes harvested this year, due to the “careful planting of the right varieties and a fortunate mix of sunshine and showers.”  

The UK suffered a severe drought over the summer, with July the driest on record. 

The drought, however, has been proving to be beneficial for wine production in the country. A new study suggested wine production could boom in Britain as the climate crisis transforms conditions to those similar in famous vineyard regions such as France’s Champagne and Burgundy, and Baden in Germany. 

Sparkling wine varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will begin to reliably grow in a far greater area of England and Wales as the country heats up, the paper published in peer-reviewed OENO One predicted.