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Genuine Jersey Continues to Grow

Date: 22/07/2004 | Posted by John Garton
Four local producers and a Jersey potter are the latest members to join the growing ranks of the Genuine Jersey Products Association (GJPA).The new businesses to join are Fungi Delecti, Happy Hens, Jersey Oyster Company, Jersey Turbot and The Pottery at Belvedere Terrace. The five new members were agreed at a committee meeting of the GJPA last week and brings the number of existing members to 38.

The Jersey Oyster Company has been run for the past six years by mixed farmer Stephen Luce and fisherman Christopher Le Masurier. Last year the company exported over 360 tonnes of oysters to France, of which 35 tonnes were branded as Jersey exports and are being sold in the major French supermarket chains Carrefour and Casino. The company, which also sells Jersey Royals in France, has worked with Jersey Tourism to produce a special leaflet explaining the farming history of Jersey which was included in every box of potatoes and branded oysters.

General manager Lorianne Norman says: “Our branded Jersey export trade to France is growing as more people become aware of the freshness and high quality of our produce. In addition to the oyster trade we also supply over 100 tonnes of mussels to Jersey suppliers and deliver fresh produce daily to the fish market”.

Last week the company began harvesting its Bouchot Mussels which are grown from seed on wooden poles in the Royal Bay of Grouville. The company farms sixteen hectares and by the end of this year hopes to have 3,000 poles on the beach which should yield 40 kilos of mussels each. The company is working closely with local pubs, fish merchants and restaurants to run a special marketing campaign to promote the Bouchot Mussels.

Bob Milner, who runs Happy Hens, is the only major producer of free range eggs in the Island. The retired dental surgeon started the business three years ago and has seen it grow by 700 percent. The company supplies the Co-op and Le Riche groups as well as farm shops, hotels and restaurants.

Bob says: “There is huge demand to buy local produce and Genuine Jersey will give me the opportunity to sell Happy Hens eggs at farmers markets and events and raise awareness of the brand”.

This year the farm in Grouville began growing strawberries and next year Bob plans to plant a small crop of Asparagus.

Fungi Delecti in Les Platons is another new member. The company started ten years ago after it carried out special trials in conjunction with Plymouth University to see if shitake mushrooms could be grown locally using traditional methods. The mushrooms, which originated from Japan, are grown on wooden logs for two years before they are harvested.

Today, the company also produces free range eggs, herbs and baby salad leaves and distributes other local produce to restaurants, hotels, shops and the Central Market.

Former fisherman Dave Cowburn runs Jersey Turbot in St Catherine’s, which is the only commercial fish farm in Jersey. The company buys turbot from France when they are four months old and grows them to market size, which can take three and a half years. The fish are kept in tanks filled with fresh sea water and are fed and organic diet of fish food and wheat.

Dave says: “At the moment we only sell to members of the public who place their orders by phone or come down and pick out the fish of their choice. In time we would like to supply to a local fish merchant or restaurant associated with Genuine Jersey.

“Being a member of the Association is a quality stamp for what we achieve. The fish are all grown locally and it is a boost to the fishing industry which has been in decline for the past few years”.

The farm currently stocks several thousand fish and it is open for members of the public to visit.

Finally, potter Theresa Robinson, who runs The Pottery at Belverdere Terrace, has also joined the Association. She designs and produces hand-thrown stoneware pottery at her studio in St Helier.