A potato vending machine has been installed in Nouvion by two farmers, who use it to sell part of their produce.

Until now we have been familiar with vending machines for banknotes, flowers, pizzas, fresh bread, condoms, DVDs, sandwiches…Since December, in Nouvion, French fry enthusiasts can now get their precious potatoes at any time of the day or night! Installed beside the D1001 road, at the entrance to the commune when arriving from Abbeville, a vending machine issues 10kg sacks of potatoes to those who want.

Members of an agricultural society, two vegetable farmers from the sector are behind this installation: Pierre Delcourt and Thierry Briet. ''We discovered this system whilst on an exchange trip to Germany 8 years ago. The farmer was selling all of his products this way. We thought that we needed to bring the same system over here,'' recalls Thierry Briet. An identical machine also exists in the carpark of a hypermarket in Saint-Riquier.

Each year, over 5,000 tonnes of tubers are produced on the 135 hectares that are consecrated to them. Now, a few days after activating their vending machine, they are selling off over 400 kg a week thanks to it. ''It's starting off really well, Pierre Delcourt is pleased to say. We' are targeting a ton a week within six months.''

The concept is straightforward. A 600 kg stock of potatoes is put on conveyer belts inside the machine, which is not much bigger than those of a bank distributor. The client just has to put their card into the card reader, choose between the two varieties on offer (Trésor for French fries and mash, Charlotte for steamed cooking) and wait for the 10 kg sack to come out. The price of the unwashed potatoes varies between 4 or 5 Euro, depending on the variety. ''As a general rule it is cheaper than in the shops,'' says a smiling Pierre Delcourt.

When the stock is about to run out, the farmers are warned by a text message and act within minutes to recharge the machine. ''It is part of the new ways of marketing. There is no reason why farmers should not benefit from it. This modern way of selling enables us to avoid wasting time waiting for the client, and the client does not need to come to us either. They know where they can be sure to find the product.''

Source: courrier-picard.fr