All systems go for the 81st National Fruit Show

The Marden Fruit Show Society is delighted to confirm that the 81st National Fruit Show will be taking place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th October 2014 in in the new Maidstone Exhibition Hall as well as the re-furbished John Hendry Pavilion. The new single span building will allow the Show to place the competition fruit in a more central position.

Maidstone Exhibition HallMaidstone Exhibition HallThe new single-span exhibition hallMichael Jack, President said: “The new building, which replaces the Kent Pavilion, will enable us to put the fruit at the heart of the Show and bring all exhibitors together in the single span 3,000m2 building. The emphasis in terms of quality and excellence will be part of the hallmark of success of the 2014 Show.”

The Show is also delighted to announce that all four Major Sponsors, Agrovista, BASF, ICA and Norman Collett Ltd will continue to support the 2014 Show, with Produce Packaging providing the competition packaging.

Following the success of last year’s 80th Gala Dinner, which took place in the Clive Emson Conference Centre at the Kent Event Centre, Hadlow College will again sponsor the Show Dinner, and Orchard World the pre-dinner drinks reception.

Sarah Calcutt, Show Chairman said: “Being able to host our Show Dinner on the same site had huge advantages for exhibitors and their guests.  Whilst we have had some beautiful venues in the past such as Leeds Castle and Turkey Mill, the popularity of the event and the limited spaces at our previous venues has always been a dilemma. We are now able to offer a great location with plenty of capacity.”

This year the Bonanza Prize which was first announced at the Marden Fruit Show Society AGM, will be provided by JR Breach in association with DL Valois, a large nursery grower based in France and Desindo; a supplier of horticultural products.

The 2014 Bonanza Prize is made up of three elements; 1,000 two year old trees supplied by DL Valois, with an extensive choice of varieties to suit the winning grower at this year’s National Fruit Show in October. In addition to the trees the winner, drawn from entrants to the main fruit competition will receive 1,000 tree stakes supplied by Desindo. The final part of the prize will be a travel voucher worth £1,000 to cover travel to France and accommodation whilst the winner selects their trees.

Sarah Calcutt, Chair of the Marden Fruit Show said: “The National Fruit Show is where industry gathers to showcase growing techniques, innovation, storage and the marketing of English fruit. The Show ensures that communication within the sector has a platform and the growers who visit are kept up to date with developments and innovations in the industry.”

Two new competitions will be judged at the National Fruit Show this year.  The Taste of Kent Awards have introduced two classes for ‘Garden of England Champions’, organised by Produced in Kent and sponsored by Cripps. These prestigious awards will be awarded to the tastiest apple and tastiest pear grown in a Kent Orchard. Judging will take place on the second day of the Show.

The National Fruit Show seminars promise to deliver some great speakers and will be financially supported by Whitehead Monckton, whose sponsorship enables growers to attend them free of charge. A full list of speakers will be available in September with current and relevant topics for Fruit Growers being paramount. Speakers confirmed to date are Thierry Ligonniere from the Davodeau Legonniere Nursery in France a business currently producing in excess of 1 million trees per year. David Bishop from International Controlled Atmosphere introducing the ‘Safe Pod and Dynamic CA’ and Mike Walters who will update growers on picker and orchard safety. Mike is a senior HSE Adviser.

Maria Clarke, Show Secretary summed up: “We are really excited that the 2014 Show will be able to utilise the new 3,000m2 Maidstone Pavilion together with a refurbished Hendry. We have been able to re-visit the layout and can offer more exhibitors the opportunity to be sited near the Show fruit. Our  new on-line booking system has received good feedback from exhibitors who are finding it quick and simple to use. As always stand space is booked on a first come first served basis. We have  a little space available which can be booked at

Sarah Calcutt said: “With the 2014 Top Fruit season having just started the Show will be the perfect arena for growers to reflect on the conditions and speak to industry experts about the future of the English fruit sector. We look forward to welcoming the industry to our new and improved Show.”

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