To provide a further work-out for the senses what better than to head out to the stunning bay of St Ouen, to El Tico Beach Cantina, for a sneaky lunch in the Boardroom, overlooking the vast sands of St Ouen’s Bay, washed twice daily with the clean and impressive waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Not only does the journey across the Island to the West Coast showcase all that is beautiful about our Island home, but it also brings us to the Parishes in which our “Chosen Four” can be found.
At El Tico we arrange for our guests to be enchanted with the tastes of Jersey from the restaurant’s tantalizingly delicious menu, offering them a chance to break the ice over a crisp glass of wine or Jersey cider, and a relaxed luncheon of our local produce. Here we have time to chat about our delightful Island, just nine miles by five, but packed to the brim with places to see, be they historic, adventurous, picturesque or simply very tasty.
Guests fuelled for an afternoon’s adventure, it is time to visit a charming island farm in the wilds of St Ouen.
Uncovering the Jersey Royal
Manor Farm, Vinchelez, St Ouen is home to Christine and Didier Hellio a husband and wife team who grow a large range of crops supplying fresh vegetables to a range of outlets on the Island as well as their own farm stall.
The most famous of these is of course the fabulous Jersey Royal, grown in the Island for the last 130 years, and known for its sweet, slightly nutty flavour.
The Jersey soil is light and well drained and many farmers still use seaweed harvested from Jersey beaches as a natural fertilizer known locally as Vraic. In fact, this practice dates back to the 12th century. The flavours of the sea permeate through to the crop, giving the Jersey Royal its unique flavour.
The bulk of the outdoor crop is planted from January to April with harvesting from the end of March through to July. Season’s peak, however, is May, when up to 1,500 tonnes of Royals can be exported daily.
Christine and Dider explain that they employ a method called staggered planting, which means that they can continue to produce Jersey Royals well after the usual season’s end.
Potatoes planted on the early slopes are hand lifted. Côtils, the fields on slopes near the coast are so steep that almost all the work is done by hand.
Once harvested, the level of care continues at each stage. Didier explains that the Jersey Royals are checked twice by farm workers and also by quality controllers before being packed and loaded into refrigerated trailers for export. The potatoes are harvested, graded, packed and shipped daily to ensure that consumers are buying them when they are at their freshest and finest.
Christine and Didier work from sun up to sun down, but love what they do, and it really shows in their enthusiasm. A visit to their Manor Farm shop will allow you to buy the freshest of produce straight from source, and maybe meet their charming dog Elmo.