Northern Ireland: Meet farmers with a great passion for potatoes and potato growing

Pictured on the stones at the Giant�"s Causeway at the launch of the Northern Ireland Potato Festival are Dessie Hamilton, Adrian Jamison, Mark McCurdy and the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE. The annual event returns this year on Saturday 7th October. ).PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIAIt takes a certain type of soil to grow a good potato. And favourable conditions across the Causeway Coast and Glens mean the area is home to a large community of potato growers. The spud is produced on farms right across the region before ending up on shop shelves and dinner plates. James Kyle from Stranocum has been growing the vegetable since leaving school. He says it’s not an easy occupation but it’s clear he has a passion for the industry. Mark McCurdy also followed in his father’s footsteps. Now several members of his family are involved in the potato business at Whitepark Bay. “It’s long hours and it’s labour. My father first started growing potatoes 50 years ago, so we’re continuing the tradition. I always wonder – do people know the hard work that goes into getting potatoes on to the shelves? And it’s certainly a tougher market now with competition from other products,” explained Mark. Adrian Jamison, from Ballycastle – together with his brother Nigel, are keeping up the family’s potato-growing tradition started by their father Tom, also over 50 years ago. More