Facebook tells me that I’ve been to Fruit Logistica nine out of the last ten years.

It was an ‘on year’, the halls were packed, lots of business was being done and I had an extremely successful trip – there is an awful lot to be said for giving yourself time just to wander around at a trade show. Too many times have I visited Berlin with a packed diary for all three days and not really achieved anything. That’s usually because the people I should have been able to stop and talk to when I bumped into them were more interesting than the appointments. It’s a massive show with new varieties, marketing campaigns and technology from across the globe spread over 30 something halls; I’ve come home with a book full of leads, a lot of information and I have, of course, been promoting the opportunity of the National Fruit Show to another clutch of new potential exhibitors.

And the white gorilla… I don’t know what the message is either, a large Spanish coop always has a very visually striking stand and I can only guess that the gorilla was there this year as a crowd puller. I just think he’s disgusted at the poor quality of his crown…

One hot topic was recruitment – when isn’t it for farming I hear you cry! Well we have good news on that front, the Fresh Careers fair is at the Oval on 8 March, open to all post 16 students of any skills required by the food, farming and hospitality sector. Fantastically well supported by the broader food and farming business sector the team joyfully told me that their business bookings; companies looking to find interns and graduate trainees are up 125% on last year. The Fruiterers Livery as principal sponsor has underpinned the event and also brought in some really amazing opportunities for students interested in a career on the production side. How about an all expenses paid short internship with G’s or Berry Gardens, anywhere in their operations for a full immersion experience and working for one of the UK’s top produce companies? There are longer internships available with a range of businesses in our sector, fabulous introductions to the business of producing, selling and managing fresh produce. Richard Hochfeld found a brilliant intern at the event last year; Tim has travelled to many of their partner growers, visited the full range of events delivered by the Fresh Careers team and looks set for a sparkling career in top fruit. If you know of anyone wondering about a career in our industry then get them to register, its free and there is such a lot to be gained from a little insight into the broader industry.

And finally… the fruit show needs you, very specifically the fruit show education programme needs your money. We are 85 years old this year and we have set a target of £85,000 to be raised to take our education programme to the next level; we have an amazing team delivering the programme written by Sam Smith and we have an opportunity to do so much more! With 1000’s of primary age children being introduced to british fruit and farming each year just think what we could do with a contracted education officer? We could cover the whole of the scouting and guiding movement… we could look at delivering a healthy eating programme to secondary school children, we could make a real difference and educate those that are going to be eating British fruit for the next 85 years. We have fabulous support already from ACG&S, Avalon produce, Loddington farms and the fruit show itself, just think what we could do if everyone in the fruit industry made a donation, what a difference we could make reaching our future customers.