2011 will see the 25th Anniversary of The National Fruit Show Apple Juice Competition.
The competition, staged by permission of Agrochandlers (Emma Nash Limited), owner of its copyright and creator in 1986, is expected to be as popular as ever. Each year it attracts more than 60 entries over three main classes.
To celebrate the silver anniversary, the Juice Competition has a special Supreme Championship sponsored by ACT Publishing. The publisher of industry titles;Greenhouse Grower, Vegetable Farmer and The Fruit Grower are celebrating the Company’s 25th year in business.
John Jarrett, Director of ACT and a member of the Marden Fruit Show Committee is delighted to be able to combine the two milestones and in addition to the sponsorship for the 25th Anniversary provide prizes for the Russet Class and Tastiest Apple.
Entries from the three juice classes, blended with two or more varieties, single and blended with two or more fruits grown in the UK will gain automatic entry to the Championship. 50% of the mark will be brought forward from earlier classes, the remaining points will be determined by Sofie Boddy Senior Consultant, Pam Lloyd PR and a representative from ACT.
Robert Oliver, Marden Fruit Society Chief Juice Competition Steward explained: “The remaining 50% of the marks will be for the quality and relevance of the label and bottle. The information carried and also the integrity of the branding and general marketing of the product.” He continued, “this will be difficult to judge but we are confident that we have found the right judges with the necessary experience to determine an overall winner.”
The 25th Anniversary competition has also attracted additional sponsorship from Bellingham and Stanley a Kent based Company who are exhibiting for the first time. They are offering a range of Refractometers, Digital hand-held for the Supreme Champion and E-line and Eclipse Optical for second and third.
Kevin Chapman, Customer Care and Marketing Manager at the Company will be at the National Fruit Show to explain to visitors how refractometers are used extensively throughout the food chain. All soft fruit, juices, sodas, cider, beer, jams, marmalades, honey and tomato based sauces are all quality tested with a refractometer to ensure that the total sugar content is within the required range in order to meet stringent consumer and trading standards requirements.
Robert Oliver, Vice-Chairman of the Marden Fruit Show Society has been involved in the Apple Juice competition for over a decade and recalls how the standard of juice has improved and the overall quality of entries gets better each year.
Health giving properties of pressed juice have been reported world-wide and in recent years scientists have published findings stating that apple juice can help prevent asthma symptoms and could also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers chose apple juice for the trials rather than apples because the juice contains more vitamin C as well as polyphenols, which help to increase blood flow and relax the arteries.
About 10% of an apple is carbohydrate and 4% a variety of vitamins and minerals. The rest of the apple, more than 80% is water. The process of juicing has changed little over the centuries although modern technology and innovation has allowed for standardisation and superior quality. The juice is flash-pasteurised; heated to between 71 and 74 degrees centigrade for 15-30 seconds, giving a safer product with a shelf life of up to two years.
One of the highlights of the National juice competition was in 1989 when the Ritz Hotel and the Marden Fruit Show Society created an apple juice cocktail which David Hopkins, Ritz Hotel Manager officially included in their cocktail list. “Eve’s Downfall” was made using the 1988 winning juice from Dinmore Fruit Farm, Hereford and was 5 parts Cox/Bramley juice, 2 parts passionfruit nectar, 2 parts Lamberhurst Vineyard Quince Liqueur, 1 part Drambuie Scotch Apple Liqueur and a dash of Cointreau.
In addition to famous cocktail the juice competition has attracted well-known judges over the years with Jilly Goolden and Willie Rushton helping to decide the Nation’s best apple juice. The judging was conducted on the first day of the two-day Show for 15 years but due to the increasing number of entries and the pressure to decide the winner in time for the Award Ceremony the competition is now judged on the Monday before the Show opens.
Robert Oliver is particularly proud to have introduced a new class to the competition in 2008. He explained: “the growing trend for freshly pressed juice has continued to grow over the past 10 years with consumers no-longer content with high quantities of juice made from concentrates.
“One of the biggest growth areas has been the trend for apple juices to be blended with other fruit. We were happy to include an additional competition to recognise this change in the marketplace and introduced a class to include other British fruits. Initially we did have blends with ginger and elderflower but all our juice producers now are clear on the criteria and we have some extraordinary juices that feature strawberry, raspberry and blueberry amongst others.” 2010 winner was Broomfield Orchard in Kent with a blend of Conference pear and Empire apple.
The 2010 winner was Four Elms Fruit Farm in Exeter who won both single with Russet and blended with Bramley and Cox.
The winning entries, including the Supreme Champion Juice, will be on show and visitors will be able to read the Judges’ comments and points awarded. The juices will then be transported to Countryside Live at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, on Saturday and Sunday 22 and 23 October, where The National Fruit Show competition fruit will be on display to the public.