Reject veg are spuds we like

Jennifer Hawkins

First his carrots were too knobbly, now Prince Charles's potatoes have been deemed too dull for consumers, but school caterers in south Gloucestershire are not complaining.

They are to be given 100 tons of his organic spuds after supermarkets rejected them for not being shiny enough for their stores.

In a deal with the city council the prince will now supply his Cara and Cosmos potatoes, grown at Home Farm near Tetbury, to local schools from September.

Pupils at Charborough Road primary in Filton tested the princely potatoes recently and liked them. They have already dined on his organic carrots after they too were rejected by supermarkets for not being straight enough.

Headteacher Nicola Bailey said: "They're fantastic. We have had feedback forms for the children to fill in. When we had the royal carrots we got the children to taste them, they liked them. We have done the same with the potatoes and again they were a hit.

"We are really lucky to have such a good relationship with the suppliers.

We have been quite happy to be the flagship school to have trialled the vegetables."

The school's health drive has gone beyond going organic. It won the national Healthy Schools Award after it banned all sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks.

Instead children are offered cut fruit and vegetables, wholemeal toast, mineral water or pure fruit juice during break time.

She said: "After doing this we saw the children's behaviour and concentration in class had transformed. We expected a lot of complaints but parents were fully on board with it."

Home Farm manager David Wilson said: "We hope it will take off and will lead to better things in the future.

"I think it is crazy really that supermarkets do not think they're good enough for consumers. On average, supermarkets reject 22 to 40 per cent of vegetables because they are not perfect.

"You can make allowances for rotten or mangled vegetables but this is purely for cosmetic reasons."

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles said: "As an organic farmer himself, the Prince is keen to encourage discussion about the benefits of using fresh, good quality local food in schools."

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Jennifer Hawkins

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