For fifteen years, HDC Lamotte, a French company located in the Drôme department, has been cultivating the Linzer delikatess variety of potatoes, sold under the Délicatesse brand. This small early potato is unlike any other and it has now conquered French consumers. “In less than 10 years, the Délicatesse has gone from regional to national fame. Sales have literally exploded. Distributors have quickly identified it and today, almost all of them have chosen to develop it. It is even offered under two distributor labels,” explains Christophe Lamotte, the company’s director.
A potato managed like a vegetable crop
This success is due to its freshness that makes it a true early potato. “There was a time when early potatoes were more or less managed like consumer potatoes. The particularity of the Délicatesse is that it is managed like a vegetable crop. It is planted in strips every week on different plots of land from February until July, so that new potatoes are always harvested. It is a short cycle, between 70 and 80 days, which allows us to obtain small calibers (less than 40). It is therefore very much like a young vegetable. It melts in the mouth and it is very sweet, with a very characteristic nutty flavor. It can be peeled by hand and is consumed with its skin. Cultivating the Délicatesse in a context where this type of crop was forgotten has really been our strength.”
The Délicatesse, available in 100% recyclable cardboard trays
But the novelty for the Délicatesse this year is the packaging in which HDC Lamotte now sells it. “With the AGEC law, our packaging must be plastic-free from the 15th of August for our consumer potato. We have therefore developed a 100% recyclable cardboard tray of 750g and 1kg, with windows to allow the consumer to see the product. With some clients, we have already been selling our potatoes in this packaging since the start of the season.” A well thought-out concept that helps the company meet the legislative and consumer expectations without impacting its logistics. “It is a truly innovative technique which required us to invest in a new machine. And we are very pleased with the result.”
Target for the 2022 harvest: 1,750 tons
The volumes for this season should be larger than last year. “We have planted more surfaces. Last year, we produced 1,600 tons and our goal for this year is to reach 1,750 tons. We rotate the crops every 3 years, and we topkill and weed mechanically. We do not use any synthetic insecticide and we prefer biological control. We do not have any problems related to the preservation of the potatoes since the Délicatesse is not supposed to be stored. The goal is not to produce huge quantities, but a product of quality, with a nice caliber at the optimal maturity. Increasing our offer significantly would actually be very difficult, simply because we do not have enough land to do so. The Drôme department is perfect to grow Délicatesse potatoes. But, as its name indicates, this small potato is quite demanding and growing it somewhere else can be a very delicate task. It is the weakness but also the strength of the Délicatesse, and it is what makes it such an exceptional product.”
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