Why Buy Our Seed Potatos

Each seed potato is a clone of the parent.

You can grow a potato from the seeds in the green fruit-like 'potato berries' which form on some plants, but unless selectively cross pollinated, you'll have no idea whether the new plant will be a good-un, or a bad-un and the plant will need to be overwintered and grown on for a season or more before you start getting a worthwhile crop........So most of us grow from seed potatoes, removed from a plant that does what it says on the tin. 

Clones unfortunately gather viruses & other diseases and over time pass on a bit more 'rubbish' to the next generation. Eventually they will die out through disease (10-30 years) and need 'rejuvenation' through breeding programmes. Low grade seed potatoes, the potatoes you buy in the supermarket fro eating and garden-grown tubers carry considerable numbers of bacterial & fungal pests that are not present in certified high grade seed. The safest control is to grow clean stock and keep your plot clean of disease for everyone's sake.  

Scotland is one of the most important producers of seed potatoes in the world and the quality is under the official control of the Scottish Government no less. Strict regulation ensures quality seed free from defects and diseases. Each year, Scottish growers produce some 400,000 tonnes of potatoes. Some 300,000 tonnes is sold, the rest is replanted.  The bulk of the crop is sold within the UK, bringing in some £50m, with an additional £9m raised from exports to European Union (EU) countries, according to the Potato Council. 

A further £21m worth of potatoes is sold beyond the EU. The climate in Scotland means that aphid populations are generally low and that virus diseases are usually not a problem. Because of the geographical situation, they are free from bacterial diseases such as ring rot and brown rot, which not many other world competitors can claim. Gangs of 'roguers' prowl the seed potato fields looking for plants which are not true to form or unhealthy, to ensure quality.

Our main supplier is JBA potatoes, based in Annan (halfway between Dumfries & Carlisle)

We also have seed potatoes coming from Perth, including the Albert Barlett's series, Sarpos from their 'home' in North Wales and a few others from other seed potato merchants.

It's said that if you laid out all the vegetables grown by the Albert Bartlett company, the line would stretch three times round the world. Not bad for a firm started in the backroom of a council house in Lanarkshire by three men who could barely read and write. Albert came to Scotland from Northern Ireland in 1947 with sons Alex 16, and Jimmy 22, and with little more than big dreams! Starting with beetroot they developed the 'Scotty' brand. In the 1960s they moved to England, where part of the firm is now based, but they also have a big site in Aidrie. The UK business is supplied by a group of 96 farmers stretching from Cornwall to Inverness and 11 on the island of Jersey. With clever branding and marketing you'll see many of their potatoes in prime display at various supermarkets. Seed potato is available to gardeners, though in carefully controlled, branded pre-paks. Their mission is 'to make potatoes interesting and consistently interesting'! 

Sarvari Trust has it's origins in Hungary. During the 1950s Dr Istvan Sarvari headed a team working on blight resistant potatoes. In Soviet times, potatoes that could be grown without chemicals were needed for the USSR and so, the Sárváris developed resistance to viruses and then resistance to blight. In the post Soviet era these potatoes were discovered by a group of Scottish potato growers & scientists.

Research Trust based in Bangor, North Wales. Money earned still helps to support the work of the family in Hungary. More recently the Savari Trust is building a “Crowd” of supporters and researchers who help them with their work. For much more information on this fascinating project seewww.sarvari-trust.org. The news page/ blog includes honest tasting notes from a top chef. 

Why grow Sarpos?  Sar-po stands for Sarvari Potato. Why grow any variety? Plot-holders want a good yield of spuds that have a great taste and texture. If you like a dry, floury variety like Kerrs Pink then you should try Sarpo Mira, Axona, Blue Danube or Sarpo Shona.  If it’s a waxy one you want then try the early Sarpo Una or early maincrop Sarpo Kifli.  

Other good reasons to grow Sarpos?  Their vigour means they smother most weeds and leave the plot clean. No nasty sprays or chemicals required to grow a healthy crop. Just be careful to cut the tops when the spuds are the size you want.  If left to grow on too long, the huge spuds will have hollow heart. Their long natural dormancy means they can be stored without refrigeration until well into the following year.  What more do you want? Some growers in sheltered plots leave their Sarpo spuds in the ground and harvest as they need them over the winter, others like to use Axona or Sarpo Mira as second croppers; just leave some seed in a tray outside and plant them in July to get new potatoes in October and November.