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Producers plan to boost potato's profile at Balmoral Show with 'Mighty Spud' campaign launch

By Rachel Martin

Published 10/05/2016

UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson and chef Paula McIntyre with the winners of the 2016 Mighty Spud Awards - Angela Morton from Mortons, Ballycastle; Simon Dougan from The Yellow Door in Portadown; Adam Harding of The Hillside Bistro, Hillsborough; and Jenny Curran from Tony and Jen's, Belfast
UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson and chef Paula McIntyre with the winners of the 2016 Mighty Spud Awards - Angela Morton from Mortons, Ballycastle; Simon Dougan from The Yellow Door in Portadown; Adam Harding of The Hillside Bistro, Hillsborough; and Jenny Curran from Tony and Jen's, Belfast

It’s time to “turn the humble spud into the mighty spud” — at least according to a group of Northern Ireland farmers.

The farmers will launch their ‘Mighty Spud’ campaign at Balmoral Show, where they hope to educate the public on the value of potatoes as a food source.

The Mighty Spud is a campaign led by the Northern Ireland Stakeholder Potato Promotion Group (NISPPG), a co-operative of potato farmers, packers and processors.

Funded jointly by potato producers and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), the mighty spud campaign has been driven by around 60 potato producers from across the province.

Richard Orr, who runs his business Orr Potatoes alongside his father and brother, is one of the farmers behind the movement.

The family grows around 12 different varieties of potatoes on around 200 acres of land near Comber.

Mr Orr said the campaign began when Northern Ireland potato farmers realised that more marketing was needed to stop a 5% decline year-on-year on potato sales.

He said: “You can’t judge a spud by its skin, and that’s the message we really want to get across.

“There has been a lot of negative publicity around the potato but there seem to be a lot of misconceptions.  It’s got around 100 fewer calories of the same weight of rice or pasta, it’s a great source of potassium and has no fat content.

“Potatoes have always been a much loved staple of the Northern Irish diet and we want to see them back in their rightful place as the king of the dinner table.

“People talk about the humble potato but we wanted to shake that up a bit and start talking about the mighty spud and everything you can do with it.

“The same way you have to use the right tool for the job, you have to use the right spud for the job. Some will be beautiful mash, others are better for chipping and some are great boiled.

“We’ve started a campaign on Twitter and Facebook and have created the ‘Mighty Spud’ character who will be walking around the show.”

Chef Paula McIntyre will give cooking demonstrations at the Mighty Spud stand in which she will talk about the varieties of potatoes grown in Northern Ireland and their nutritious value.

Mighty Spud will be based near the main entrance of the showgrounds.

Belfast Telegraph

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