The Best, the Tastiest and the Heaviest at the National Fruit Show

The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS), organisers of The National Fruit Show are delighted with one of the best ever number of competition entries this year.

Sarah Calcutt, Chair said: “Each year the competition fruit display takes pride of place in the Kent Pavilion and is a centrepiece for the Show. This year sees a new variety Zari enter Class 12, Any Other Dessert, this is exciting news for both industry and consumer.” Sarah continued: “The National Fruit Show competition is a means for UK top fruit growers to enter their fruit to be judged by a panel of experts. The winning fruit is without doubt amongst the best in the world and a chance for growers to be recognised for their achievements. We have 170 entries of fruit in classes 1-20 and believe it has been a number of years since we last achieved this figure. This positive number reflects the wonderful season growers have experienced.”

In addition to the 20 classes representing top fruit, the National Fruit Show has an Apple Juice Competition which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. 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###/iThe Fruit Grower  is celebrating the company’s 25th year in business.

The 25th Anniversary winner will receive £200 in prize money, from The Fruit Grower(ACT Publishing). The top three will be awarded a refractometer for testing sugar content, courtesy of Bellingham and Stanley, a Kent-based company exhibiting for the first time at the show.

The Tastiest Tomato competition sponsored by Marks & Spencer starts at 10.30am with the panel of judges deciding a winner for each class then an overall winner. The Tastiest Apple competition starts at 11am with the panel of judges tasked with finding a variety with all the attributes that the consumer requires in an award winning fruit. The new variety Rubens won the accolade last year and uses the title in its 2011 national campaign. ACT Publishing has sponsored this event since it began and the judging traditionally takes place on their stand at the National Fruit Show.

The competitions for the Five Heaviest Apples and Five Heaviest Pears are a popular attraction for visitors to the Show and the National Fruit Show is always looking to achieve another World Record. Alan and Gordon Smith of Loddington Farm, Kent, took the World Record in 1997, only to be knocked off the top spot by current record holder Chisato Iwasaki of Japan on October 24th 2005 – his apple weighed in at 1.849 kg.

The winners of all the fruit show classes will be invited to attend a Prize Winners’ reception at 11.30 am on Thursday 20th October, with prize giving to follow at 12 noon. Prizes will be presented by the show President, the Rt. Hon. Michael Jack. Winners will be notified by telephone once the results of all classes are finalised.

A major new stewardship campaign is launching at the National Fruit Show. The ‘Chlorpyrifos: Say NO to DRIFT‘ campaign (stand P36) has been set up by the UK registrants of chlorpyrifos products to help orchard growers maintain the availability of these products by minimising spray drift. The aim is that all applications from 2012 onwards are made with low drift nozzles.

To help them achieve the goal, growers will need to register for a set of FREE low drift nozzles on the stand. By minimising spray drift in orchards, the long-term use of chlorpyrifos can be safeguarded and the environment protected.

Many of the machinery exhibitors will be using the National Fruit Show as a stage to launch new products. The show provides the opportunity to view and compare products from manufacturers including Carraro, Kubota, Massey Ferguson, New Holland, Valpadana, TECNOMA and Greefa all exhibiting innovative products developed to assist growers.

Agrovista, one of the National Fruit Show sponsors, will be showcasing several new initiatives including their Trianum G Trials. These trials have shown that when Trichoderma-based product is incorporated into the root zone during planting of new orchards the roots quickly become colonised with fungal mycelium. This results in enhanced nutrient uptake and also has an antagonistic effect on soil-borne pathogens. Growers Choice Interactive, the unique pest and disease modelling service has expanded further to encompass more weather stations and is covering a larger geographic area for 2012.

Adrian Barlow, CEO of English Apples and Pears Ltd, and panel member for the GREAT DEBATE at 3pm on Wednesday 19th, will be able to give accurate figures on the 2011 season. This year saw the earliest picking on record with multiple orchards harvesting Discovery as early at 20th July. Other varieties like Cox and Gala were two weeks ahead of the average picking weeks with product coming out of the orchard and in to retailers on 11th September. The predictions for this year were very conservative. It was anticipated that there would be extensive crop damage due to frost, however whilst some growers had damage to entire orchards the overall result was that casualties were smaller than forecast.

Adrian Barlow said: “Growers saw good pollination with good fruit sets, although the lack of water was concerning for growers with young orchards and no irrigation systems. The crop overall is up 8% in volume – this has been led by a 15% increase in Gala, while Braeburn is 35% up. This confirms the revival in the English Top Fruit Sector. Sales to multiples have increased by 8% but we need to ensure that growers are getting sufficient returns on their product to allow for investment in new storage and packing facilities.”

MFSS Chair, Sarah Calcutt, summed up the 2011 event: “We have got all the ingredients for a truly exceptional Show, this year’s season has been a success for the vast majority of growers and there is a renewed vigour within the industry. I anticipate a well attended and vibrant two days where the industry can get together to continue to expand and innovate and more importantly get the right product at the right price to the consumer.”

Admission is free on both days with a completed registration ticket which can be completed on the day or in advance by downloading from the ###a href=”” target=”_self”>Event Information page of National Fruit Show website.

Opening times day one, 10am – 5.30pm, day two 10am – 3pm.

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