The National Fruit Show takes place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th October and organisers, The Marden Fruit Show Society, are delighted that the new Maidstone Exhibition Hall will be at capacity.
The Sarah Calcutt, MFSS Chair, said: “The new Maidstone Exhibition Hall has allowed us to re-visit the Show layout and give a better flow to the entire space as well as being able to site the competition fruit centrally. Some of our exhibitors have taken the opportunity to expand their stand areas and as in previous years we have a number of businesses exhibiting for the first time.”
The Show will also take up the adjourning John Hendry Pavilion and visitors will be able to take advantage of the newly refurbished Astor Pavilion and the upgraded rest room facilities.
Competition entries are looking positive and Norma Tompsett the Competition Secretary is particularly pleased with the number of Top Fruit and Nut Entries. Norma said: “We have 152 entries of top fruit, 8 growers who have entered heaviest apple and pears and 14 nut entries. FW Mansfield has entered a new variety, Empire, which they are growing on several of their farms Broad Oak, Nickle, Pitstock and Swanton. We are also delighted that Hannah Hasell a former Hadlow College student will be entering the novice class.”
The National Fruit Show looks forward to welcoming growers after what has been reported as a good season. The season started over a week earlier than last year due to the warm weather and growers anticipate good quality and skin colour. Adrian Barlow from English Apples and Pears and Sarah Calcutt, MFSS Chair, will be reporting on the Season at the Press Conference on the first day at 9am.
The competitions will be judged on Tuesday by a panel of experts who will scrutinise the fruit from each entry and will award scores, the maximum score being 100. 20 points are awarded for fruit free from pest and disease and 20 for the fruit being free from bruising and other damage. The four other criteria are awarded a maximum of 15 points, uniformity of colour, uniformity of size and eveness of shape, skin quality and the internal condition.
The formal judging on Tuesday does not include how the apple tastes, the ‘Tastiest Apple’ Competition takes place on the morning of the first day. In addition to the National Fruit Show competition, Produced in Kent organisers of The Taste of Kent Awards will be choosing the tastiest apple and pear grown in Kent.
Apple Juice judging will take place on Monday with the winning juices on show for the opening on Wednesday. Soft Fruit and the “Tastiest Tomato’ judging both take place on Wednesday.
Sarah Calcutt Chair said: “We are looking forward to a good number of entries in all the National Fruit Show competitions and we must take the opportunity to thanks all the companies and organisations that sponsor the prizes and trophies.”
The National Fruit Show will be formally opened at 10am on Wednesday 15th October by a DEFRA representative.
The National Fruit Show takes place on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th October 2014; entry to the Show is free.