We had a great show, again managing to grow the event and throughout this month we’ve received a lot of very positive correspondence and reports of good levels of commercial activity.

It’s quite a challenge to keep the show moving forward and in view of the late harvest this year its timely that next year we will be a week later which will help put us back as the day out at the end of harvest. We already have some new companies booked in and will also see some changes around the fruit; we will have a new major sponsor by the AGM and an exciting offer as the bonanza prize, one of the best prizes ever. The education programme is recruiting, to have two teachers on the road teaching the next generation of consumers, we hope that the new person will equal the drive and enthusiasm of our lovely Sam Smith. We are looking ahead too, heading towards celebrations for 85 years of the Marden Fruit Show Society in 2018, plans are afoot for a dinner dance and a new dimension to the exhibition.

Wholesale markets, once the backbone of the fresh food supply in the UK have languished for a while I feel; sadly used and abused for the disposal of produce that other outlets wouldn’t handle. There has been something of a revival in recent times, a number of companies have realised that there is a need for a high quality, regular supply of produce destined for good food service contracts that are paying decent money; there is profit to be made in a wholesale market. There is a clear message about what happens to your product depending on what you send it with and how you back up the provenance. It seems to go a little like this:

  1. Send things in a plain black or green craft box, it’ll be anonymous, like you’re ashamed of it. Invariably this stock is there ‘to clear’ anyway, sent up with the aim of getting some money. This is the fruit left at the back of the stand in peak trading times, its there for the deal makers looking for a cheap, really cheap deal, for something at the end of trading. Everyone knows that the plain boxes don’t contain anything worth much so you won’t get much of a return on these, you can find several boxes of this kind of stock being cleared away for recycling two weeks after it arrived

  2. A Union Jack box – no company name still but it’s definitely home grown which is a big plus point and probably worth three times the cost of the box in your return. This will be front to middle ranking on the stand, there will be a defined price and the stock is managed well as it will have been better quality on arrival. Buyers are less able to do a deal on these boxes, its clearly good quality, clearly sent to the market for the right reasons (and it’s got a grower name on it so they can perhaps find out where its come from). A word of caution though, these are great in the South and London, not so welcome the further north you go, tone down the union jacks if you are sending up country

  3. Bespoke boxes – oh much beloved of the good companies with strong food service contracts. Lovely fruit, presented in a stunning box with full contact details and perhaps even a website that will tell the end customer all about where the fruit came from and how it was lovingly grown. These boxes will get you top money, they won’t be traded down, they won’t be left for recycling and they will be up the front of stands at peak trading periods. But, whatever you do don’t be tempted to put plain box stock in one of these, buyers are loyal to quality, don’t mess up your name (and don’t forget to put leaf and red tractor if you have them, they are worth a few quid a box too for some customers)

And finally, well I want you to have a look at this website: www.thegreatfruitadventure.com this is the site of an epic journey by two guys who want to raise awareness of where our fruit comes from. Sponsored principally by Pink Lady and Triumph motorbikes they are riding from London New Spitalfields Market to South Africa stopping at fruit farms along the way. They are linked into a whole host of schools who are following their progress and it is a proper adventure with a strong consumer educational message.