Grower competition is good news for consumers

Every grower and marketing desk understands the importance of how improved top fruit storage technology has extended the availability of fruit in the domestic market and has prolonged the English apple season.

The Marden Fruit Show Society organise the national Long Term Farm Stored competition each year. Entries for the 2012 competition are now in and eighteen growers have submitted a total of 35 samples. The entries this year include Gala, Braeburn, Jazz and Russett.

Sarah Calcutt, Chairman said “The long term future of the top fruit industry relies heavily on the quality of our stored fruit, only by season extension can we continue to increase our market share in the UK. Consumers want exceptional quality and by improved storage technology and working with new varieties fruit is available to the consumer in perfect condition.”

The competition fruit will be judged by Martin Luton (Qualitech), David Johnson and Karen Thurston (EMR) who will conduct a number of stringent tests to determine specimens, which have retained perfect eating and ripening qualities.

There are three classes Bramley, Cox, Any Other Variety Dessert Apple judged against criteria covering ground colour of skin, absence of shrivel or greasiness, firmness of flesh and the absence of disorders and rot; A maximum total of 100 points are awarded. The is a fourth class for pears, the judging criteria amended to include ripening at 18°c.

2011 winner Loddington Farm, Linton gained first place with their entry of Gala which achieved an almost perfect score of 99.75. James Smith from Loddington Farm and Kent NFU Chairman, won the 2011 Ron Tassell Trophy for the Store Operator of the Best All Round Exhibit.

James Smith, grower said: “The Farm has been entering competition fruit for a number of years and winning the best exhibit last year was wonderful. We grow first class fruit on our farm and we ensure that it is stored in the best possible conditions. This year we have submitted entries of Bramley, Cox and Gala.”

Blackmoor Estates in Hampshire won the Bramley and Cox classes in 2011 with scores of 97.25 and 97.75 respectively. They will be entering Gala in any other variety and Cox leaving the way clear for a new Bramley class winner this year.

The competitions are kindly sponsored by a number of companies that specialise in storage and post harvest technology; International Controlled Atmosphere and STS Ltd based in Paddock Wood, Scorpion Engineering Construction Ltd, Wiltshire and Landseer Ltd, Essex.

A display of the Long Term Farm Stored fruit with Judges scores will be at the Marden Fruit Show Society AGM on 28th March at East Malling Conference Centre.

Sarah Calcutt, Marden Fruit Show Society Chair explained: “We are delighted with the number of growers who have entered the competition this year. It is crucial that we continue to grow world-class fruit and utilise emerging post harvest technology.”

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