In 1878, a major development in the Jersey potato industry took place, the discovery of a new variety of potato, christened the Jersey Royal Fluke.
Until the discovery of the Royal, a selection of potatoes had
been grown on the island. Then one day a Jersey farmer, Hugh de la
Haye, spotted two enormous potatoes displayed on the counter in a
local store. Hugh de la Haye purchased them and took them home.
That evening he invited some friends over for dinner. After the
meal he showed them the two huge potatoes, one of which had 15
'eyes' (from which new plants sprout).
The friends cut this particular potato into sixteen pieces which
they took and planted on a 'côtil' above Bellozanne valley (a côtil
in Jersey is a steeply sloping field, often overlooking the
The following spring, they produced a large and early crop.
Strangely, though the parent potatoes and most of the new crop were
round one plant produced nothing but uniquely kidney-shaped
potatoes. The Jersey Royal was born! It was carefully nurtured and
developed to produce the later varieties of Jersey Royals which now
account for almost half of Jersey's income from all agricultural
So what became of Hugh de La Haye?
He was later honoured by islanders at a formal gathering with a
testimonial and a purse of gold sovereigns.