The theme for the 2019 National Fruit Show is Innovation, which organisers plan to reflect in numerous aspects of the show.
New to this, the 86th iteration of the event, is The Hive. A new ‘zone’ for the show, it will be open to businesses with emerging technologies, which may be in their infancy and have not exhibited at such an event before, as well as to those who may never have attended the show before. It will be a test pad of new ideas which visitors and fellow exhibitors can explore.
One of the first entrants to The Hive is Sean O’Keefe who is coming to the National Fruit Show to showcase COGZ, which aims to help growers redistribute their waste product using an innovative online platform. He’s hoping that supermarkets, food producers, businesses or even consumers will see the potential in his new service, and he will be using The Hive as its launch to the industry.
Alongside him in The Hive will be Martin Lishman, a technology company dedicated to the fruit industry, which will show its ‘magic apples’. The ‘magic apples’ are replica apples made by a 3D printer which contain an impact tracker designed to record the journey of an apple from the tree to the packhouse, faithfully recording every (gentle) bump on that road. Its purpose is to let the grower know how much damage is inflicted and where, so that changes can be made to minimise any bruising and therefore improve the quality of the fruit by the time it arrives on shelf.
NFU president Minette Batters will open the show on 23 October with a short presentation and speech. As ever, competition is central to the show, and this year there will be over 20 different classes available to growers from across the UK to compete in. The big prizes that growers aspire to take home include Best all round exhibit at the show; Best exhibit of dessert apples and of culinary apples; Best blended and single variety apple juice(s); Best overall entries of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries; Best entry for cobnuts; and Britain’s tastiest apple and pear.
This year, over 90 exhibitors will be at the show, with well-known names such as Hutchinsons, Bayer Crop Science, Landseer, JR Breach, FP Matthews and OnePay all having a presence. The National Fruit Show’s Education programme, which is part-funded by some of the profits from the show, is also there to show its work with local schools to a much wider audience. Sam Smith, the Education programme leader, will be on hand to demonstrate how the work she and her team does is so important in investing in the next generation of fruit industry experts.