Looking back at their family history, the Baudains are farmers through and through. For over 150 years, their farm in the middle of the island has diversified and evolved as the times and growing processes have changed. Steve and John, brothers from St Lawrence, grow Jersey Royal new potatoes, courgettes, barley, grass and mustard throughout the year. They are very eco-friendly and pride themselves on looking after local wildlife. Having been members of LEAF, the leading organisation promoting sustainable food and farming, for many years, they follow advice on conserving the local environment and regularly plant wild grasses and flowers. They also help local schools with initiatives to grow potatoes, which the children love to get involved with. Alongside this they work with Birds on the Edge which aids the recovery of declining species. The farmers put bird mix into the ground as a second crop after the Jersey Royals potatoes have finished which helps all sorts of birds and insects to thrive in the local area.
Steve’s most rewarding part of the job is when the Jersey Royals grow, seeing how good they look and taste – there’s nothing like the smell of freshly dug spuds in the morning! During the height of the season, it is a lot of hard work and long days but Steve is thankful that he can enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air. The managing of the growing requires last minute decisions and Steve sometimes wakes up in the night worrying about the weather, a key factor in the growing process. He’s grateful to have his father on hand for advice as he has so much farming experience. The farm aims to work as efficiently and effectively as they can, whilst looking after their staff, fields and wildlife.
2020 was by far the most challenging season Steve can remember. It was extremely wet at the beginning of the year when they normally try to plant the majority of the spuds. The weather delayed the planting and caused potatoes to rot in the field. On top of this, the COVID-19 restrictions caused issues as one of the key drivers and mechanics was unable to travel which meant they were very short staffed. Once it had stopped raining, the weather became very dry, which meant they needed to irrigate all the Jersey Royals to ensure they had a decent crop. Steve is hopeful that his family can carry on farming for many years, and he can eventually hand the farm over to his son!
Steve swears by freshly dug Jersey Royals boiled and served with just Jersey butter.