Scoring an incredible 99.25 points for its Gala entry, R D Applegrowers took the best all round exhibit in show at the 85th annual National Fruit Show.
According to Sarah Calcutt, chair of the show, R D Applegrowers’ entries this year, which included two submissions in the Cox, Ruben and Gala classes, were “exactly the same in every way” and reflected this year’s overall high quality and uniformity of entries across the entire competition.
Grown by Bob and Anne Tompsett, on their farm in Chainhurst, Kent, R D Applegrowers’ show trays were skilfully packed by their daughter Joanne Cooper, who cut a business trip to India short to ensure she would have sufficient time to arrange the fruit for this year’s show.
“We have had a very difficult year this year,” said Bob Tompsett, “so for Joanne to turn to out the entries was very impressive. We entered six classes and got a prize in each. For a very small grower who has been showing for less than 10 years, we are very proud of what Joanne has achieved.”
With just 22-acres of orchards, R D Applegrowers is one of the competition’s smallest growers, having only entered into the fruit industry after purchasing land from a retiring neighbour. Since then the family-run farm has planted eight acres of Gala and Rubens and was previously awarded the best in show accolade for Rubens in 2013.
This year’s National Fruit Show competition saw more growers on display than ever before and in total, 111 entries were submitted into the 2018 competition. In her show report, Sarah Calcutt highlighted the “exceptional performance” from new entrants, including Baretilt Farm, who won the Jazz class, and RH Nightingale, who won the dessert novice class.
“It is really encouraging to see those turning their hand at exhibiting fruit for the first time doing so well,” said Sarah. “We had 11 growers enter the competition for the first time this year, which is fantastic, and it is also good to see a greater number of competitors coming from outside of the South East too.”
Photos: Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic