National Fruit Show competition fruit goes to Festival Place Shopping Centre, Basingstoke

After the National Fruit Show, which has been taking place in Kent since 1933, the stunning display of prize-winning apples and pears will again be travelling to promote the top fruit industry to Saturday shoppers.  Show Chairman, Jeremy Scott says, “this year we are off to Hampshire, ‘setting up our stall’ at the Festival Place Shopping Centre in Basingstoke.”

Festival Place is Hampshire’s regional shopping destination, located in the heart of Basingstoke town centre.  The Festival Place Food Market is held every Saturday between 10.30am and 4pm in Festival Square.  Festival Place Shopping Centre hold a series of events each year and were delighted with the idea of adding such a unique feature to their programme this year.

The volunteer team works very hard to make these occasions work.  As Robert Oliver, deputy chairman of the National Fruit Show admits, “it’s a long day, but the reward is meeting consumers.  We can help them be better informed about our industry which allows us to feel we are making a difference.  We know there are consumers that have no idea that apples are grown in England.  With ignorance on this level, raising awareness of our industry is vital.”

Shoppers will be able to sample and then buy well known apple varieties like Cox, Gala and Braeburn and pears like Conference and Comice.  They will also have the opportunity of getting know new apple varieties, only recently planted in English orchards, like Rubens, Cameo, Jazz and Kanzi.  These new varieties are crisp and juicy with a subtle combination of sweetness and acidity – flavour so easily achieved in our balmy climate but more difficult to achieve in other countries.

This year is the 200th birthday of the Bramley apple – Britain’s favourite cooking apple. The show has been celebrating the bicentenary with extra competition classes of Bramley and this prize-winning fruit will be on display and for sale.  Visitors will be able to get advice on how to cook a fantastic Bramley apple pie – they just have to ask!

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