These potatoes are now famous Europe wide having been granted an EU PGI status in 2012, which puts them in the same league as Feta cheese, and Melton Mowbray pork pies.
Only potatoes planted, grown and harvested within the protected geographical indicated area can be marketed as Comber Earlies, and only potatoes harvested in May, June and July are eligible for the status. There is no actual vatiety called Comber, the name refers to the general geographical area where the potatoes are grown.
The exceptional soil and climate found in the PGI area allows the farmers to grow this unique potato. Protection offered by the Ards Peninsula to the East and the Mourne Mountains to the South along with the South/ East location mean that the micro climate of the designated area is both warmer and drier than other parts of Northern Ireland. The area receives the greatest amount of sunshine, and has the longest mean growing season of any part of the province.
These unique characteristics of soil, climate and topography all work together to produce our fantastic potatoes with their earthy, sweet and nutty flavour- the much awaited taste of summer.
The group of 12 representing the growers are Richard Orr, Hugh Chambers, Stephen Christie, Trevor Davidson, Stephen Donnan, Ian Gilliland, Nathan Gilmore, Harry Hamilton, Garth Horner, Andrew Herron, Ivan McKee and John Hamilton.