The company "La Rebelle" is specialized in the first potatoes of the island of Ré. They are harvested from April to August. "Apparently others are having trouble getting the early potatoes through, but for us the campaign is going relatively well. Our products are known for their quality and we are sure to get very good results this year," says Eric Delimbeuf, founder of the company.
"La Rebelle" brings together ten producers spread all over the island. Together, they farm about 35 hectares. After harvesting, the potatoes are graded with an optical air sorter from the Swiss brand Visar. "It is the only optical air sorter in all of France," Eric adds. "It allows us to be very selective."
The selectivity of the sorter perfectly meets Eric's expectations, who favours quality over quantity. "We do a lot of research. Last year we had 46 varieties in trial. We only kept two of them. Before, we were in PDO but we later refused, because the varieties imposed were not suitable for the local terroir."
High-quality early potatoes are marketed under the "La Rebelle" brand. The company also introduced the "La Rigolote" brand for the second category. "Since our machine selects very carefully, we have created this brand, which is commonly referred to as "second category", because it is still a first choice product for a number of consumers. These potatoes retain their organoleptic qualities but are less visually attractive."
In general, Eric's clients work on all available calibres. "There are a lot of applications for the trademark 'scrap metal', a 17/28 mm diameter shot. We also offer shot blasting in 28/35 mm. Locally, everyone is looking for this caliber. This year we are well positioned in terms of calibres."
"La Rebelle" is aimed at a high-end customers. "We work mainly with wholesalers and, through them, with the best restaurants. I like working with wholesalers who have 40 years of experience and who know how to manage the product. But it must be said that in supermarkets, there are more and more real professionals who also understand how to take care of the product."
For Eric, it's the taste that counts. It therefore concludes with culinary advice. "You should never prepare potatoes in water, because all flavours are lost in the water. The best way to cook a small early potato is to brown it. For larger sizes, it is better to make steamed potatoes so as not to lose the flavour."
Eric Delimbeuf at MedFEL 2018
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