30 October 2015

National Fruit Show 2015

The 2015 National Fruit Show competitions saw a near record number of entries across all the competitions. 

The 82nd National Fruit Show once again saw innovation at the forefront of the English Top Fruit sector.  Many of the 93 exhibitors brought the latest technology, software and techniques to the two day Show that took place at the Kent Event Centre on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd October.

HL Hutchinson Ltd brought the Omni Fruit Vision System which is able to count and grade apples and calculate accurate yields. The technology can be used early in the season, evaluating the need for fruit thinning then later assessing crop yields and ultimately help to plan harvest more efficiently. NP Seymour showcased the new driverless Fendt X-Pert tractors for orchards.  The Fendt Vario with Probotiq X-Pert is a tractor that navigates itself through an orchard without an operator in the cab with a system that stores every action (steering, accelerating, mowing, spraying) multiple times per second and has the capacity to store hundreds of routes.

The Show was formally opened by Neil Parish MP, and a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. Sarah Calcutt, Show Chairman said “We were delighted that Neil was able to formally open the Show and see what a magnificent and buoyant  sector the fruit industry represents. The competition fruit this year has benefitted enormously from favourable growing conditions and skin colour is the best it has been for a number of years . The display looked fantastic this year and all our exhibitors and visitors have reported commented on what a wonderful Show it has been”.

Kent now produces 40% of apples sold in the UK and the 2015 growing season will see a record yield particularly with Britain’s number one variety, Gala, which has now significantly overtaken Cox.

The ‘Tastiest Apple’ was grown by Gordon Darbyshire, J & B Darbyshire, Chapel Grange Farm, Five Oak Green and really impressed the judges. The winning apple also won best exhibit  in Class 6 Rubens, with 98.25 points. Brian Tompsett who stewards the competition said “It is very rare for an apple to gain the highest points in the competition judging and also win on flavour”.

The standard and number of fruit entries for the fruit competitions exceeded expectations with 148 entries of top fruit.  Once again, Bardsley Farms were dominant winning; Class 1, and Class 2, Bramley with points of 97.25 and 98.5 respectively.

The standard and number of Trade Stands at the 2015 Show made it a difficult and time-consuming job for the Judges, who commented on the excellent quality this year.  Kirkland UK won Best Trade Stand with their custom built stand that reflected the company’s commitment to British Growers.  NP Seymour won Best Machinery and Kentish Cobnuts, the Best Small Stand.

Plans are now underway for the 2016 National Fruit Show which will take place on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October.