This week the Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) held the 85th Anniversary National Fruit Show at The Kent Event Centre at Detling.
The Marden Fruit Show Society (MFSS) is a Registered Charity run by a voluntary committee who represent many different facets of the fruit industry. The aim of the Society is to promote the better growing, grading and marketing of fruit.
The Society organises the National Fruit Show, which acts as a meeting place for the industry. The centrepiece of the show, held each October, is the largest competitive display of commercially grown top and soft fruit staged in the UK.
In this week's Journal the emphasis is on the celebratory mood and in particular J.R. Breach celebrating their 50th Anniversary of attending the National Fruit Show. Over the next two weeks, I will report on the show more comprehensively and list all the trophy winners and cover many of the outstanding 'trade stands' which are integral to the success of this the 85th anniversary show.
Below: one side of the National Fruit Show display of entries - in the foreground Bramley
Back in 1933, the first show was held on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th October and attended by 1,538 visitors. In 1934 visitors increased to 2,208. The 1935 show was cancelled due to a lack of entries following bad weather:
In 1936 the format changed with judging taking place on the Tuesday and the attendance was 1,856. 1n 1938 the show was once again cancelled due to sever spring frosts decimating the crop. 1939 and the show was cancelled due to World War 2. The show re-emerged in 1948 and attendance was 2,477.
This week has been a busy one for The English Apple Man: on Tuesday I joined my fellow judges as we set about determining the 'fine margins' between the entries which separates the Winners from those that finish an (often) close second!
For a number of years, I have been paired with my good friend Roger Worraker; all judges work in pairs to ensure a balanced judgment of each entry. With six elements judged, the winner of each class is a well deserved one!
Below: left; Roger Worraker testing an apple for firmness with a penetrometer and right; The English Apple Man is trusted with a knife to slice each sample taken, looking for any internal disorders (none found)
Below: the traditional pre-show press conference held at 9am before the show opens formally at 10am - from left to right; Chair Sarah Calcutt. President Michael Jack and Vice Chairman Andrew Tinsley
In next week's Journal, The English Apple Man will expand upon the content of President Michael Jack and Chair Sarah Calcutt's message and English Apple & Pears Executive Chair Ali Capper's 'very pragmatic' summary of the prospects of the Government understanding and assisting in the desperate need for enough harvest workers to pick the strawberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, apples & pears, which our fruit growers have worked so hard to drive the increase in home production and the reduction in the reliance for imports.
Below: NFS President Michael Jack welcomes NFU President Minette Batters, to the 85th anniversary show and invites her to formally open the event.
After Minette Batters formally opened the 85th anniversary show and the Bishop of Dover blessed the fruit, Auralia Davis presented Minette with a box of the winning fruit and her friend Fifi Dunn presented a box to the Bishop of Dover
Below: Sarah Calcutt with her daughter Auralia who presented Minette Batters with a box of the winning apples and right; Fifi Dunn presents the Bishop of Dover the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott with a box of apples.
Below: this picture featured in the 'Times Newspaper on Wednesday' of Fifi Dunn surrounded by superb show fruit, is a stunning example of the fantastic quality of British apples & pears
49years ago a young John Breach launched his fledgling business with a stand at the 1969 Marden Fruit Show; now after notching up exhibiting at 50 shows J.R.Breach celebrated with a stunning cake and sparkling English wine.
Below: NFS President Michael Jack accompanied by NFS Chair Sarah Calcutt join John and Rosemary Breach and 'ensemble' for cake cutting!
Below: left Rosemary Breach cuts a slice for The English Apple Man and right; The 50th anniversary cake
Below: left; Richard Stogdon and Clive Edmed and right; John Breach with Annette Bardsley
Below: left; Georgie Carlin and John Portass with Peter Breach and right; Bruno Essner and Fiona Davison from Dalival
Below: left; a display of DALIVAL varieties and right; Peter Chandler from Chandler & Dunn with Peter Breach
Below: left; The Fruit Grower's Editor Chris Tanton with John Breach and right; Annette Bardsley, John Breach and Estera Amesz of AG Recruitment
Below: left; Peter Breach with Gill Greetham and Rosemary Breach and right; John's Grandson Louis Vignon with 'Grandad'
Below: John Breach offered every visitor to an opportunity to win a bottle of English wine with 50 bottles to be won; drawing a ticket between 1 and 50 decided a winner! right; Joanna Wood looks hopeful as she selects a ticket!
That's all for this week; tomorrow morning we fly off to Malta for a two week holiday
The English Apple Man