Our seasonal reminder that spring is giving way to the summer is the arrival of the first Comber Earlies appearing on shelves of SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO stores across Northern Ireland.

Thanks to an abundance of rainfall matched with sunshine drenching the unique Comber and Ards Peninsula soil over the past few months, SPAR has bagged up Comber Earlies from the fields of William Orr & Son in County Down, which are now on sale across 500 stores supplied by Henderson Wholesale in Northern Ireland.

Noel McGregor, Trading Manager at Henderson Wholesale commented; “The team at Orrs has been lifting the first of their Earlies this week, and we all know these potatoes are best eaten fresh, so we’re delighted to be giving them a quick turnaround in our warehouses and send them out to stores in a matter of hours.”

As the name suggests, Comber Earlies are the first potatoes to come through after the crops are planted out at the beginning of March, but as Noel explains, digging has taken place even earlier this year.

Noel continued; “We’re about two weeks ahead of the usual schedule for Comber Earlies, which are usually dug up and on shelves mid-June, mostly due to the early appearance of spring weather, bringing prime growing conditions.

“We have been trading with William Orr & Son for over 30 years now, and as per previous years, their crop is looking fantastic and ready to be picked up by our shoppers and enjoyed at home for tonight’s tea.”

Comber Earlies, which have PGI status, are hugely anticipated by local shoppers due to their unique taste and flavour, thanks to the micro-climate in which they’re grown in the rich soil of the Ards Peninsula and Comber areas.

Henderson Wholesale, which supplies to over 500 SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXTRA and ViVO Essentials stores in Northern Ireland, sources over 75% of their fresh food from local farms and suppliers, ensuring maximum taste, freshness and continued support for the agri-food industry here.

Orr’s potatoes will sit alongside SPAR’s The Greengrocer’s range of over 100 lines of fruit & vegetables, including carrots from Fresh Fields in Comber, salad leaves from Willowbrook Farm in Newtownards and broccoli and cauliflower florets from Gilfresh in Loughgall, to name a few.