As the National Fruit Show prepares to host its 84th competition at Kent Event Centre, Detling, on 25 and 26 October 2017, many varieties from participating growers have already been selected, picked and put into cold storage.

While adverse weather earlier in the season has led to a relaxation of the rules for the size of fruit entered, judges will remain on the lookout for fruit trays which demonstrate perfect colour, shape and size consistency, with minimal blemishes and marks from bruising, disease or pests.
Growers remain optimistic about this year’s competition with Cox, Gala and Braeburn all predicted to have excellent finish and quality this season.

This year’s bonanza prize is a trip to South Africa. Growers will need three entries scoring a minimum of 85 points to be eligible for the draw, which takes place at the National Fruit Show dinner on Wednesday evening.

“The bonanza prize is a good incentive to ensure you have the maximum number of exhibits on the stand,” said Sarah Calcutt, chairman of the National Fruit Show. “We are indebted to Greenyard for making this wonderful prize available. I was part of the U40’s group that went over to South Africa last February and I cannot recommend visiting the region highly enough.”

The fruit industry’s key annual event, the show offers a valuable day out for anyone involved with fruit from apple and pears, to soft fruit, nuts and viticulture. With nearly 100 businesses and organisations attending to showcase the latest equipment and services, visitors will be able to discuss current markets, future innovation and the key ingredients needed to build a successful forward-thinking business. This year will even include the show’s first robotic demonstration.

“I hope to see you all on 25 October,” said Sarah. “Thank you to the wonderful team of people who work officially and unofficially and take enormous pride and pleasure in ensuring that the show delivers to all its visitors. Good luck if you are competing in any of the classes.”

On following pages, South East Farmer caught up with some of the region’s award-winning growers, show veterans and the new major sponsor, NP Seymour, to find out more about their memories of the competition, how they got into showing, what the National Fruit Show means to them.

Read our full National Fruit Show preview