This week The 86th National Fruit Show (NFS) took place at the Kent Event Centre.
The English Apple Man was involved on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday!
On Tuesday morning Judging the NFS 2019 show fruit with fellow judges.
On Tuesday afternoon a visit to Friday Street Farm in Kent to take pictures of Magic Star apples at point of harvesting.
On Wednesday morning the EAM was a Judge in the NFS tastiest apple competition.
On Thursday morning the EAM was a judge in the Taste of Kent Apple & Pear competitions.
On Friday The NextGen Fruit Group invited delegates to two major soft fruit growing and packing businesses.
On Friday evening (as I write) The English Apple Man is feeling very tired - hence the Journal this week is light on written content!
All elements will be featured in EAM Journals in the next few weeks!
On Tuesday The English Apple Man joined fellow judges as we determined the Show Fruit Competition 'winners and losers'
Once again the standard of entries in the show classes was superb; the skill of the entrants in selecting 3 trays of each Class means only those scoring in the 'high 90's stand a chance of Winning.
Magic Star is in the opinion of The English Apple Man a 'game changer' - this variety can be eaten straight off the tree at harvest and the same apples will store for a year and still deliver the same eating quality. This allows growers the opportunity to store Magic Star until next July/August and follow on from Gala and Braeburn extending the supply of high quality apples up until the new season apples come on stream.
Tuesday afternoon at Friday Street Farm taking pictures and tasting Magic Star
The EAM visited Jack Skinner at Friday Street farm with Nigel Jenner - Avalon Produce Ltd Chief Technical Officer as harvest was about to start (22nd October) - Jack has the oldest planting of Magic Star and now in the 4th leaf yield estimate is for 55-60 tonnes per hectare.
Below: left; Three generations - Bob, Jack & Jake Skinner and right; Magic Star a 'game changing' variety?
Once again NFU President showed her support for the British Top Fruit industry by opening the show for the third year. Minette and her team at NFU have been working very hard to ensure Government Ministers full appreciate the importance of future support for British Agriculture and Horticulture.
Below: NFS President Michael Jack and NFU President Minette Batters and right; the Russet judged 'Best in Show' grown by JL Baxter & Son
Pictured above, the Russet entry from JR Baxter & Son scored an amazing 99.5 marks (out of 100) to become the Best in Show exhibit.
The English Apple Man has been one of the Judges in the NFS tastiest apple competition and for the last three years a judge in the Taste of Kent - tastiest apple and pear competition.
The NFS tastiest apple the Jazz apple which also won 2nd and third place as well. The winning Jazz was grown by Robert Pascal at Clockhouse Farm at Coxheath (Maidstone) - the Taste of Kent winning apple; again a Jazz, was grown by Simon Bray at Monks Farm, Norton and the tastiest pear a Concorde grown by Richard Edmed at Horsmonden Kent.
Below: left; NFS tastiest apple judges and right; Simon Bray & Richard Edmed winners of the Taste of Kent Awards
Friday and the NextGen event starts at WB Chambers Oakdene Farm where 80+ delegates gather for a day of learning, networking and most important FUN! The NextGen group toured a part of the production area, the Packhouse, the Fruitery (prepared fruit) and attended a presentation of irrigation techniques and equipment by NETAFIM.
Below: NextGen group members toured WB Chambers site in four groups - here the Blue Group gather outside the packing and storage complex
After lunch at Oakdene Farm the NextGen group drove to Hugh Lowe Farms at Merryworth where HLH MD Marion Regan and Tom Pearson presented an overview of the HLF business before driving to the Glasshouse complex at Hadlow where delegates toured the older glasshouse unit growing Raspberries and Blackberries and the new (2018) Glasshouse complex growing strawberries.
Below: The 'Next Generation Fruit Group' at Hugh Lowe Farms on Friday (today) afternoon
That is all for this week, next week the Journal will expand on National Fruit Show elements.
The English Apple Man