Ayrshire Earlies launch in Tescos
By Sharon Wilson AYRSHIRE Earlies, Scotland’s first New potato crop of the year, will arrive in Tesco stores across Scotland from this week. Supplied from Branston's near Perth, these unique potatoes – which were recently awarded PGI status – will only be available locally. Ayrshire is one of the most productive agricultural regions of Scotland, with a milder climate driven by the Gulf stream from the long coastline along the Firth of Clyde. Four generations of the Wilson family have farmed in this unique coastal area for more than 130 years, passing the land down from generation to generation. Their Ayrshire Earlies are traditionally grown on a narrow strip of sandy soil that is just a few metres above the high tide line. Because the area remains largely frost-free, they can plant as early as February. This year saw plenty of sunshine and the west coast still got some much-needed rain during April and May while the potatoes were bulking up beneath the ground. Throughout spring the crops are carefully checked so that they can be harvested as soon as they reach the right size. The first small load is often harvested by hand, as they are particularly delicate. Lucia Washbrook, sales and marketing director at Branston, said: “These are proper New potatoes - harvested while the leaves are still green above ground and the immature potatoes have a thin and fluffy skin.” Ayrshire New potatoes are available in Tesco stores across Scotland in 750g packs and as a loose option both online and in-store until the end of July. Ayrshire New Potatoes/Ayrshire Earlies were awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2017. The EU protected food name scheme covers regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed.