What Is PGI
Comber Earlies PGI recognition positions the Comber Earlies potato alongside some of Europe’s most iconic regional food brands, such as Feta Cheese and the Mighty Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. Only potatoes planted, grown and harvested within the indicated geographical area can be marketed as Comber Earlies. Only potatoes harvested in May, June or July are illegible for the status.
Comber Earlies will be recognised by the correct description and having the appropriate PGI symbol and every box or bag of potatoes should be marked with a plant health identification number. This is issued by DARD and is specific to each individual farm. This means that each batch can be traced back to the farm where it has been produced. Ards Borough Council, specifically environmental health, will be responsible for policing this protocol. These measures should greatly reduce the instances of spurious produce in many cases unwittingly reaching consumers.
What does this mean
Fist we aim to educate retailers, the hotel and catering trade, consumers and the general public as to the significance of the PGI status and what it means for them.
With today’s modern world of globalisation where our planet has become a very small place and produce can easily be grown thousand of miles from where it is eventually eaten, we have a much more healthy, safe, nutrious local product, which we all can enjoy knowing that is has been grown responsibly, in harmony with nature, the environment and to the highest possible standards.
It will be possible in the coming months to see Comber Earlies planted in local fields in the PGI area and watch their progress throughout the growing season, through flowering until finally they are harvested in the early summer months.
Secondly we want to promote the recognition of the PGI symbol (right). With only 3 local products in Northern Ireland having achieved PGI status to date, Armagh Bramley Apples, Lough Neagh Eels and ourselves it is very important to promote this symbol and increase the PGI awareness. Any box, bag or batch of potatoes that describes itself as one of these brands must have this symbol clearly marked on it. This is what verifies its authenticity.