This week The English Apple Man Journal will review the 2016 National Fruit Show and report on our visit to DEFRA in London.....
The number of show entries was a bit down on last year, but the quality as high as ever, with Bardsley Farms stunning 99% Bramley entry topping the bill; Bardsley Farms won many classes with Annette Bardsley's selection skills leading the way....
Many other entrants were in hot pursuit, with multiple class winners!
Before reviewing elements of the National Fruit Show, The English Apple Man reports on an 'educational' visit to DEFRA Headquarters at Nobel House, Smith Square in London......
The Show Fruit has been distributed to various places...but the Happy Harvest Event at Nobel House - open between 11.30am and 2.30pm allowed DEFRA personnel the opportunity to view the Show Fruit and discuss the characteristics of each variety with Society members before tasting many different varieties of apples & pears...
Below: The Atrium at Nobel House
On Monday 24th October a small team of Fruit Society members, led by National Fruit Show Chair Sarah Calcutt displayed a comprehensive selection of the show fruit at Nobel House in Smith Square - The Headquarters of The 'Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA)
The objective; to raise awareness of the efforts of our apple and pear growers with DEFRA staff who are responsible for administering the rules & regulations governing our farming and horticultural industry. In addition to National Fruit Show (NFS) members, the National Farmers Union (NFU) the British Growers, Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and The University of Reading attended and supported the event.
Around 2,000 staff work in Defra, including policy makers, scientists and research specialists. Most are based in London, but others are based in York, Bristol and other offices throughout England.
Although DEFRA only works directly in England, it works closely with the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and generally leads on negotiations in the EU and internationally.
The event was held in the Atrium at Nobel House, where DEFRA personnel were able to appreciate the finest apples and pears, tasting different varieties and taking away samples of home grown fruit for further tasting by family and friends.
Below: left; the 'tasting table' is ready - and - right; the show fruit display is nearly ready
Below: left; Annette Bardsley making sure every apple is perfectly aligned - and - right; mother and daughter - 'Sarah & Aurelia' - place the final rosettes
Happy Harvest 2016
The Happy Harvest event was officially opened by Nick Joicey, Defra's Director General for Strategy, International, Food and Farming; - with a response from Sarah Calcutt, National Fruit Show Chairman.
Below: Nick Joicey
Nick Joicey highlighted the success of the top fruit industry in recovering from the 'lows of the 1990's' to a position of strength with volumes of British apples dramatically up, due to the innovation of the growers and marketeers, the adoption of new global varieties like Gala & Braeburn increasing yields of high quality fruit, while utilising technology to reduce unit costs, enabling a more competitive edge in face of imported fruit.
Nick emphasised the importance of working together to meet the challenges and opportunities as part of our (DEFRA's) 25 year plan for food and farming.
In response, Sarah Calcutt thanked Nick for hosting this event at Nobel House and remarked that the Marden Fruit Show Society (MFS) which organisises the National Fruit Show started in 1933 with the friendly rivalry of growers competing with their 'best fruit' in the Show; "my Bramley's are better than your Bramley's etc.
Below: Sarah Calcutt
Sarah drew attention to some of the 'volunteer members' present at the Happy Harvest event, particularly Annette Bardsley whose Bramley entry was judged 'best in show' with a mark of 99 out of 100.
Below: Annette Bardsley with her 'Best in Show' Winning Bramley
Sarah told the DEFRA personnel present that the underlying purpose of the Society was 'knowledge transfer' - judged by industry experts, sponsored by retailers and some of the largest institutions and wrapped around the show fruit 120+ trade stands who come annually to our show to display their products; tractors, machinery, technology, science, education et al, all of which supports the top fruit industry. Visitors come to the show to seek new products and network with their fellow growers and industry experts. marketing personnel, and generally enjoy the two day show.
Sarah said; the society does not set out to make profit, but to invest any surplus revenue for the benefit of the industry and the consumers on which we depend. Highlighting the education programme, which we run with primary school visits to 5,000 children every year, run by Samantha (Sam) Smith our fully funded Education Officer the sessions have generated so much positive feedback from the schools and parents of participating children.
Also represented at the Happy Harvest event; British Growers, AHDB, Reading University with fruit from The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale and The National Farmers Union.
Below: left; the NFU Stand - and - right; British Growers and AHDB Stands
Below: left; the show fruit display is ready - and - right; 'tasting and bagging' underway
Below: Defra personnel mix with NFS members
Below: left; group picture; Tim Mudge, British Growers - Nick Joicey, Defra - Sarah Calcutt, NFS - and - right; NFS committee member Joanna Wood with Defra personnel
The tasting table is a lively place to be; chopping varieties for visitors, taking notice of their comments, bagging up their favoured fruits + a few we hope they will like when they get home, its a very busy place.....
The English Apple Man enjoys the interaction with those on the 'other side' of the table and illustrates the 'buzz' we all get from seeing satisfaction on the face of a 'satisfied' visitor.............
Below: this lady was unsure at first; what shall I try she said; a Rubens said I, 'not sure, but I will try it' she said
hhhhmmm I think I like it! followed by a big smile - and 'yes, I love the Rubens!
Back to The National Fruit Show review.......
Below: NFS Trophies ready for Class Winners
Below: left; AGRI Won Class 14 for Conference Pears - and - right; J.L.Baxter Won Class 13 for Comice Pears
Below: left; The BIFGA Stand is always 'colourful with many varieties on display - and - right; AHDB Staff on their Stand
Below: left; Carolus Nurseries Stand - and - right; Kirkland are a leading supplier of specialist machinery
Below: VG Treepole steel support systems - something new for orchards?
Below: N.P. Seymour are always a strong presence at the NFS N.P.Seymour
A very busy, but enjoyable week, with The National Fruit Show and The Happy Harvest event at the centre of my activity.....
Next week.............'not sure yet'.................but plenty going on!
The English Apple Man