GALLERY: Open day gives chip shop owners an insight into the secret life of Cambridgeshire’s potatoes

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Pictur

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Chip shop owners from as far afield as the Shetland Islands flocked to Sutton this week to see just how the humble spud gets from the field to their friers.

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Christ

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Christopher Lee congratulates Adrian Fusco partner in Quayside Whitby the Chip shop of the year. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Isle of Ely Produce opened the doors to its base in Littleport to allow chip shop owners and managers from around the UK to see the process first hand.

Suppliers to the industry also attended, making it one of the largest events of its kind in the UK.

There was also a trip to the pack house of potato growers PJ Lee and Sons’, in Sutton Gault,

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, James

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, James Houlston picked up a heart shaped potato Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Guest of honour for the tour was National Federation of Fish Friers president Gregg Howard, who opened the day with a presentation about how important knowledge of chip preparation, storage and frying is to serving great fish and chips.

More than 70 people gathered at the farm and were welcomed by marketing officer Austen Dack who delivered them the packed agenda for the day.

Christopher Lee, of PJ Lee, was on hand to take the group on a tour of part of the farm and talk through the process of what makes a great potato — from seed through to delivery to the trade.

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With more than 10,000 chip shops in the UK, the potatoes from East Cambridgeshire and the Fens play a key part in supplying an industry which has an annual retail spend which tips £1.2billion.

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Pictur

Isle of Ely Produce had a national open day, Visit to PJ Lee & Sons Pack House, Sutton Gault, Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

John Boutwood, managing director of Isle of Ely Produce said: “Our purpose is very much to be at the heart of our business communities and to champion their aspirations and to support them.

“This open day helped cement our position further and increased the bond we already have within the trade.”

Isle of Ely Produce organises the popular potato race on October 11 in the streets of Ely.

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