Many of the fields are on slopes. The fields are first fertilized with seaweed, which the farmers call “vraic.” After being planted with seed potatoes, the fields are covered with huge sheets of plastic wrap in the event of a late frost.
The first crops of Jersey Royal Potatoes hit the stores very early in spring or summer, depending on where you are.
The first ones harvested in the spring, called “mids”, are very small. They are round and very sweet. Those harvested a bit later are called “small wares.” When harvested later in June, they are called “wares” and have the classic kidney shape that people associate with the potatoes.
They are sold unwashed — the skin is so thin that the extra protection afforded by the earth on them helps them to store and ship better.
Jersey Royal Potatoes are PDO protected. In fact, they are (as of 2006) the only British vegetable to have a European PDO.
Don’t peel, scrub or scrape a Jersey. Just wash in cold water, and cook in boiling water, or steam.
Cook the “mids” whole; the “wares” may be cut in half or chopped or not depending on what you are using them for.
Cognoscienti say simply “Jersey Royals”, not “Jersey Royal Potatoes.”
Henry, Diana. Darling spuds of May: in praise of the Jersey Royal. London: Daily Telegraph. 1 May 2011.