Campaign promoting the Comber ‘super earlies’ is launched

Comber early potatoes were given a “big lift” in June 1981 in an impressive marketing promotion on a Co Down farm, reported Farming Life.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 11:00 am
PAUL CAMPBELL FROM CARNLOUGH WITH HIS DAUGHTER  KIERA AT THE SALE

PIC KEVIN MCAULEY
PAUL CAMPBELL FROM CARNLOUGH WITH HIS DAUGHTER KIERA AT THE SALE PIC KEVIN MCAULEY

Comber early potatoes were given a “big lift” in June 1981 in an impressive marketing promotion on a Co Down farm, reported Farming Life.

Potato and vegetable growers in the North Down area, determined to convince consumers that Ulster produce could match the best, including the Cyprus ‘earlies’, had formed an association to promote their marketing interests.

HARVESTING CROP

HUGH CRAWFORD BLACKFACE CHAMPION AT THE SHOW PIC KEVIN MCAULEY

The ‘Buy Comber earlies’ promotion was launched on the Trench Farm of Mr Quail, near Comber, where, first, the guests saw the mechanical harvesting of a fine crop of potatoes. But, of course, the real test was “in the tasting” and the invited guests were entertained at a luncheon, featuring a sample of the potatoes which, “everyone agreed”, were delicious.

“Served up with an assortment of meats were homegrown vegetables and even the sweets included home-grown strawberries – a real ‘barn banquet’ which could not have been excelled in any hotel,” wrote Farming Life’s William Warren.

Mr Hugh Patton, on behalf of the growers, welcomed the guests and stressed the high quality of their potatoes and vegetables.

QUALITY SUPER

CHAROLETTE HASSARD CHAMPION KERRYHILL AT THE SHOW FROM NEWTOWNSTEWART PIC KEVIN MCAULEY

Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Mr Mervyn Loan, said that they had to let the world know of the high quality of Ulster produce.

“We are not pushing our produce forward enough,” he said, pledging that the union would do everything possible to “see that potatoes find their rightful place on the market”.

Mr Jay Semple, chairman of the UFU potato committee, was very impressed by the Comber produce. He said that the imports of early potatoes from Cyprus were “more or less a nuisance” to the entire potato industry in Northern Ireland.

Mr Semple pointed out that the Cypriots “realised the threat of their imports to Ulster growers and felt that supplies would be lower than usual this year”.

RICHARD MCKEOWN FROM TEMPLEPATRICK WINNER OF THE YOUNG HANDLER COMPETITION BEST OPP SEX AND RESERVE ANGUS AT LIMAVADY PIC KEVIN MCAULEY

IMPORTANT STAND

“We have a good crop of Ulster potatoes of excellent quality this year and we must get this message across to the consumers,” he said.

He added that it was important that local growers got together “and stand together and decide the realistic price”.

Mr John Lynn, who was chairman of the NI Advisory Panel of the British Farm Produce Council, agreed the quality of the potatoes was super.

HENRY GRIFFEN AT THE LIMAVADY SHOW WITH THE BLONDE CHAMPION PIC KEVIN MCAULEY

“We must promote our produce which is as good as anywhere in the world,” he emphasised.

After recommending “champ and scallions – and butter”, he said of the promotion: “This is the beginning of something on which we must all work. We must get the message across that our produce is good and we must promote it.”

EXCELLENT DEMO

Miss Isabell Sloan, Ulster representative of the British Farm Produce Council, was praised for the excellent organisation of the demonstration.

Mr Quail Hamilton had the last word on their efforts to beat the Cyprus challenge, he told Farming Life: “We are not going to join them, we are going to beat them.”

POTATO BOARD TO WIND UP

With the Seed Potato Marketing Board to discontinue operations after handling supplies contracted from the 1981 crop the Ulster Farmers’ Union set up a working committee to consider what action “would best serve the interest of producers in the future”.

Announcing this step after a special meeting of the UFU potato committee, the president Mr Mervyn Loan, said: “It is important that this work be done without loss of time so that if there is support for producer involvement in marketing there will be time to have an enterprise or enterprises established before growers start making their own arrangements for the next crop.”

He continued: “In spite of some weakness in the legislation under which it operated the Seed Potato Marketing Board made a tremendous contribution to the development of the seed potato industry.”