“We love what we do and our passion is in growing the finest quality potatoes for our customers”
Castlecor Potatoes was established in 1974. Back then we were as passionate about growing our quality products together with our business as we are today. Our expertise in growing potatoes is unmatched and it is why our retail, wholesale and foodservice customers have confidence in us to consistently deliver their requirements.
We grow all of our potatoes in the rich and fertile lands of Munster and we wash and pack our products at our modern packing facility at Castlecor, Mallow. We take our responsibility to the land and the environment very seriously, re-cycling and re-using where we can and setting high targets for energy conservation.
The Potato Growth Cycle
Potato growing in Ireland has many challenges. The main potato growing areas of Ireland are situated in Wexford, Meath/Dublin and Donegal. We are one of the few main crop growers in the Munster area.
Suitable potato growing land consists of deep free-draining loam soils with little stone content. We take great care in land selection each year and ensure that we enhance the nutrient content of the soil through our fertilisation programmes.
The Potato Growing Process
Mother Nature works with us and provides suitable windows of opportunity to plant, grow and harvest our crops. In extremely dry conditions we have to roll out the irrigation equipment during the growing season. Strangely, we sometimes are praying for rain – not too much, just the right amount…
Technology plays a huge roll in potato growing. Our harvesters have 15 cameras on-board watching the flow of potatoes as they are lifted from the ground and passed over the rotating cleaners. Our tractors navigate using GPS technology during the planting process – look at how straight those drills are!! Our crop records are managed through an App and downloaded to our server at head-office.
Storage capacity at Castlecor is in excess of 7,000 tonnes of potatoes. Once harvested potatoes are dried using special drying programmes in our stores and then plunged from ambient temperature down to between 2 and 4 degrees. There they will sit in the cold darkness until required for packing.
In the early days potatoes were bulked in giant heaps and packed into 4 stone bags using pikes. Most if not all potatoes were packed without washing and sold loose by weight in shops.
Today, potato packing is very different. Harvested potatoes are stored in dark refrigerated warehouses at temperatures between 20 and 40C. When required for packing batches are removed from cold storage and warmed up to 80C to avoid bruising under the skin during processing.
Our fully automated washing and packing lines use leading edge technology to wash, grade and pack our potatoes. We have the capability to pack to any size in paper bags, plastic film and now paper-laminate and microwavable materials.