Introducing a glamorous new ‘Divaa’ to the potato shelves.
Divaa comes from the Caithness Potatoes development programme and is the result of several years’ vigorous testing under a range of sometimes trying conditions. For it to outperform existing varieties is great news for British potato farmers who have faced challenge after challenge from difficult weather conditions in recent years.
Robert Doig of Caithness Potatoes said “We have tested Divaa at numerous sites over recent years and were pleased to find that it always produced exceptionally bright, clean tubers with a long oval shape, very similar to those of Maris Piper”.
M&S potato supplier, Manor Fresh, also conducted variety trials with Divaa, extending their work into the development kitchen. There it was noted that its culinary performance places Divaa alongside the best of the UK’s premium potato varieties, such as Maris Piper. Its white flesh, fluffy texture and versatile cooking characteristics made it a winner in a series of taste panels – whether fried, boiled, steamed, baked or roasted.
However it’s in the field where Divaa begins to outperform Maris Piper. Piper is very susceptible to common scab and requires significant quantities of water to keep the disease at bay while the tubers are forming. Divaa has a good level of common scab resistance and requires a less intensive irrigation program to keep this disease at bay; it also produces similar yields 2 to 3 weeks earlier than Piper. Divaa is also more likely to produce a good packing potato sample where irrigation is limited or not available, and is also becoming a variety of significant interest to the processing and frying trade, providing an alternative outlet for Divaa growers.
Divaa also has a useful level of potato cyst nematode (PCN) resistance. PCN is a very significant pest for the UK potato industry and Maris Piper’s susceptibility to the pallida variant of the disease is one of the main reasons that this pest has become such a problem for some potato growers. Divaa’s resistance can form a useful part of an integrated control strategy for this significant pest problem.
There are high hopes for the future of the Divaa variety, both for farmers and for consumers. Its first exclusive appearance in the spotlight is at M&S on 28th February 2013.
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Issued by Manor Fresh Limited – supplier of premium potatoes and vegetables to the UK retail market. Passionate about produce, Manor Fresh is the sole supplier of potatoes to Marks & Spencer, dedicated to providing the M&S customer with the very best in quality fresh produce with a full programme of innovation and development work.
Divaa was bred from the familiar Scottish heritage variety Pentland Javelin, and was chosen by M&S for its exceptional appearance and culinary versatility. Divaa always performs well, whether baked, mashed, roasted, French fried, boiled or steamed. Unlike most Div(a)as, this one is not exceptionally demanding, and performed well for Lincolnshire grower Nigel Patrick in 2012.
For further information:
Philip Britton, Potato Category Technical Manager at Manor Fresh Ltd
(T) 01406 421151 / 07798 582819