Christmas crops trigger 20% order increase for seed potatoes

Seed potatoes are set to sell 20 per cent more in 2010, after a similar rise in 2009, with Christmas crops driving the market, says grower Jamieson Brothers.

The Annan, Dumfries and Galloway-based grower has already ordered 20 per cent more for 2010.

Representative Iain Barbour said: "I think 2010 will be the peak; after that it will settle down. People can only grow so many potatoes." He added: "Lots of suppliers just do one run in January and don't do top-ups for garden centres. We supply from December to August. We even supplied Wyevale this year, which had a booming trade. We're working with (Chelsea gold medallist) Medwyn Williams too."

Barbour supplies wholesalers such as BHGS and Solus — through which Jamieson is launching 16 new varieties for 2010 - and said the firm is "up against Unwins, Taylors and Thompson & Morgan".

He said those companies had the advantage of supplying a range of potatoes, bulbs, seeds and - in Unwins' case - compost.

Barbour said garden centres should consider buying from the supplier rather than packers. "We are saying: 'If you want the best seed potatoes, buy from the specialist producer.' The others are packing our potatoes."

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