Dig into some real gems from Shropshire farmer Nick Taylor

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014

Enjoy the buttery taste and earthy goodness of home grown new potatoes all summer long courtesy of North Shropshire farmer Nick Taylor and his crop of delicious British Gems baby new potatoes – fresh to you from field to store in just 48 hours.

Nick is one of a small number of growers across the UK who grows British Gems exclusively for Sainsbury’s.

As part of the Taste the Difference range, British Gems baby new potatoes are the perfect variety to take over from Jersey Royals when their season comes to an end in June.

Nick plants 125 acres with British Gems which are the Perline variety, and have been developed by leading potato supplier Greenvale, just for Sainsbury’s.

Nick says: “This is the fourth season that we have grown British Gems. They’re actually a very difficult variety to cultivate but with their delicious buttery taste, firm texture, thin skin and golden colour it’s worth the effort.

“I plant them from February to June in sequential plantings which ensures they are available, fresh from the ground, all summer long, from early June to the middle of October.”

Nick has been growing potatoes all his life, learning the tricks of the trade from his father Chris, with whom he still works today.

The Taylor family can trace its farming roots back for centuries in the same area of Shropshire and Nick is proud to say that his two sons and daughter are ‘keen as mustard’ to follow in his footsteps and continue the family tradition when they’re older too.

Nick added: “I love working with the soil and growing things and fortunately we seem to be pretty good at it! Growing British Gems can be a challenge but it’s one I relish, particularly as they taste so good.”

And Nick’s favourite way to eat British Gems is simple – boiled and with just enough butter to bring out their natural creaminess. Delicious!

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference British Gems are on shelf now in 1kg bags for around £3 and highlight the retailer’s commitment to sourcing British products when in season.

If you fancy trying something more adventurous than simply boiling British Gems, why not give these two delicious recipes a go:

Sea Bream baked on British Gems potatoes with lemon

Whole trout or sea bass also work well in this recipe. 

Prep: 10 mins; Cooking time: 40 mins; Serves 4.

1kg British Gems potatoes, washed
1 onion, sliced 1 lemon, halved then sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
a few sprigs of lemon thyme
2 sea bream or sea bass, cleaned
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/Fan 180oC/ Gas Mark 6. Slice the potatoes lengthways and place in a large ovenproof dish. Add the onion, half the lemon slices, garlic and oil. Season with plenty of salt and ground black pepper, then mix well until everything is coated in the oil. Bake for 20 mins.

2. Stuff the fish with the remaining lemon slices and a few sprigs of the lemon thyme. Season them. Remove the potatoes from the oven and stir well, tuck in a few sprigs of thyme, then lay the fish on top of the potatoes and scatter over more thyme leaves.

3. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 mins, or until the potatoes are tender and golden. The fish will flake easily when tested with a fork. Serve hot.

Sauté British Gems with rustic salsa verde

Chopped herbs, spring onions and capers added a fresh piquant flavour to these crisp sautéed potatoes – they’re great to serve at a barbecue

Prep:5 mins; Cooking time: 15-20mins; Serves 4.

700g British Gems potatoes, washed
4 tbsp olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp capers, drained
4 spring onions, trimmed
small handful flat leaf parsley
small handful of fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Slice the potatoes lengthways. Heat a large non-stick frying pan, add the oil and potatoes and sauté the potatoes for 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are evenly browned and golden.

2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the capers, spring onions, parsley and mint and mix in a bowl with the lemon zest and juice, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat and stir through the herb mixture. Serve straight away.

Have a go at trying some of these delicious recipes out and let us know how you got on. Why not even take a picture of it for us and share it with us; we’d love to see how you got on!

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