THE humble spud has brought a boost for the city’s economy – as the port embarks on the Jersey Royal potato season.
The flow of potatoes from the Channel Islands to Portsmouth International Port began at the end of March.
The Jersey Royal has been grown on the Channel Islands for the past 130 years and is so special it has been granted EU protection.
Up to 40,000 tonnes are harvested each year, with the vast majority shipped to Portsmouth International Port for sale in the UK.
It is an important export for Jersey and a crucial crop for the 20 or so farmers who specialise in growing the potatoes.
Mike Sellers, port director, said: ‘There’s a growing focus on eating fresh seasonal food, and over the next few months we’re going to see some of the tastiest potatoes on the planet arriving here at Portsmouth International Port from our neighbours in the Channel Islands.
‘From field to ferry, this really is a healthy and sustainable crop that brings economic benefits.
‘It also highlights an important two- way trade that really should be celebrated.’
Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, which owns the port, said: ‘Our port plays a vital role in freight transportation across the UK.
‘We are one of the leading ports in the UK for fruit importation and are delighted that the Jersey Royal business is going from strength to strength.’
Despite their close proximity to mainland France, up to 80 per cent of all produce consumed and used on the Channel Islands is shipped from Portsmouth International Port on Condor Ferries services.
Each night between 35 and 40 refrigerated trailers leave Portsmouth on board the Commodore Goodwill, with another 10 or more on the Commodore Clipper daytime ferry service.
Along with temperature-controlled food products, a vast array of other goods such as drink, clothing and furniture are shipped every day from Portsmouth International Port to the Channel Islands.