How potatoes are harvested

To end up with the perfect potato, timing is of the utmost importance. This includes the time of harvesting. This takes place between July and November in Europe, depending on the species of potato. But what exactly is involved in the harvesting process?

We do our utmost to harvest large and healthy potatoes, since they’re a necessity for the creation of the perfect fry. To achieve this, we search for the most suitable varieties at the right time, to ensure consistent quality and availability during the whole year.

Big data for big potatoes
Thus, perfect timing is a requirement. The beauty is that more and more of these types of moments are being determined by data that has been provided by modern science and new, innovative techniques. Think of control from the sky using drones, precision agriculture through GPS and so-called hyperspectral photographs to measure biomass and temperature. There is an increasing quantity of data originating from farmers and production locations. That big data is collected and used to continuously investigate options to make the entire process more efficient and more sustainable. Alright. Let’s leave that for a second. 

Up to nine months
Once the right harvesting moment has arrived, potato harvesters first remove the above-ground part of the plant. Funnily enough, dead plants lead to firmer, healthier potatoes. Roughly three weeks later (in the middle of September, on average), the potatoes are removed from the soil using so-called harvesting machines. But, of course we want to be able to supply our customers with fries all year round, so part of the harvest is stored for later processing. Whether potatoes are suitable for storage depends on their species. Stored potatoes can be processed into fries between November and July. While they are stored, the potatoes are monitored well – by checking that they are at the correct temperature, for example. On top of that, we take regular samples to ensure their quality. Some potatoes can be stored up to nine months after they have been harvested. 

Handle with care
We transport the potatoes to the production location using lorries. Here, they are unloaded, ready to be checked and processed. When storing and transporting them, it is important to treat the potatoes with care. Treating them to roughly will damage them, and if they’re damaged, they can no longer be processed. You wouldn’t want fries with ugly spots on them, would you? We do everything we can to provide optimal potatoes that are perfect in terms of their size, composition and condition, to be processed into freshly frozen fries.