Meadowfresh Foods in Tallow, Co. Waterford and O'Shea Farms/Iverk Produce, based in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, have joined forces to become Ireland’s first dedicated fresh chipping potato packer and distributor. In the past two years, they have engaged with Bord Bia, Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Irish Farmers Association to support the chipping potato project. They are now set to grow specific crops for the Irish chip shop channel.
John Geary is director of Meadowfresh. He said they developed the idea of preparing quality local produce at a time when the market for potatoes was unreliable.
O’Shea Farms supplies potatoes to Iverk Produce all year round. Modern facilities in Piltown include temperature-controlled storage and logistical tracking systems. A wide variety of early and main crop potatoes is grown. Early varieties include Premier, Home Guard and Queens. These are harvested from mid-May to July. Main crops include Rooster, Kerr’s Pink, Golden Wonders, and several white varieties. These are harvested from July to October.
Ireland, a nation famous for potatoes, grows some 300,000 tons per annum for domestic consumption but imports 80,000 tons. Most of these fresh potato imports are used by chip shop owners in the country which currently number over 530 independent outlets.