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Sunday 19 August 2018

Kilkenny farmers use glasshouses to deliver on potato deal with Aldi

Picture Conor McCabe
Picture Conor McCabe
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Kilkenny farmers used glasshouses to deliver new season potatoes to Aldi on time as part of a huge €70m deal with the retailer.

Aldi today announced it will sell €24 million worth of Irish grown potatoes this year, with New Season Irish Potatoes arriving in select Aldi stores on Thursday May 24.

Piltown, Co. Kilkenny based O’Shea’s Farms is supplying the potatoes to Aldi’s stores, with Queens and Home Guard due on shelf imminently and New Season Roosters to follow in August.

O’Shea’s Farms parent company, fruit and vegetable wholesaler Iverk Produce, agreed a three-year contract with Aldi in 2017 to provide Aldi with €70m worth of Irish-grown potatoes.

John O’Shea of O’Shea’s Farms and Paul Scally, Aldi Ireland’s Buying Director
John O’Shea of O’Shea’s Farms and Paul Scally, Aldi Ireland’s Buying Director

Thanks to innovative glasshouse growing and harvesting techniques, O’Shea’s Farm will deliver the New Season Irish Potatoes to Aldi’s stores on schedule, despite a difficult 2018 growing period due to adverse weather.

James O’Shea of O’Shea Farms said the extremely cold weather and snow in February and March this year posed significant challenges to potato growers nationwide.

"At O’Shea’s Farms we overcame this through the use of glasshouses. With the use of the glass we are able to plant the potatoes during the winter months when it is much too cold and wet to plant in the fields.

"The glass protected the crop from the heavy rain and snow fall in late winter and early spring. The soil in the glasshouse warms up much faster than outside and ensures that we are able to have potatoes ready to harvest in early summer.”

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Based in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, Iverk Produce employs over 190 people from the local community full-time, in addition to a further 30-40 seasonal workers.

O’Shea farms is owned by Richard, Thomas, John and Seamus O'Shea.

While Richard concentrated on dairying, the rest of the hard-working brothers built up a business that handles close to 37,000 tonnes of carrots, potatoes and other fruit and veg under the moniker of Iverk produce.

Finbar McCarthy, Aldi’s Group Buying Director, commented said O’Shea’s Farms has done a fantastic job in delivering their crop of premium New Season Irish Potatoes on schedule despite the very challenging weather conditions this year.

"We know that given the choice, Irish shoppers will always buy Irish, so we are delighted that O’Shea’s produce will be on our shelves.”

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