Trays of the best UK apples will be on display

The Marden Fruit Show Society is gearing up for its 80th anniversary National Fruit Show on 16-17 October at the Kent Event Centre in Detling.

The show has grown in size and profile moving from Marden to the County Showground during the 1980s and is now one of the most respected and best attended commercial fruit trade shows in the UK.

The competition fruit display remains at the heart of the show featuring triple-stacked trays of the best of British top fruit, picked and packed by growers whose long-standing commitment to the show has been an important element in its success. The number of show classes has doubled since it began in 1933 and now include soft fruit, nuts, tomatoes and juice as well as the traditional apple and pear classes.

Sarah Calcutt, chair of the Marden Fruit Show said: “The National Fruit Show is where the industry gathers to showcase growing techniques, innovation, storage and the marketing of English fruit. The show ensures that communication within the sector has a platform and the growers who visit are kept up to date with developments and innovations.”

This year there are more than 20 new trade stands including AC Goatham, Syngenta, Fourayes Farm, Four Jays, Burton McCall, Grupa Bis-Pol, Plant Impact, Compo Expert UK, Cotesi, QCL, Harzfloor, Anton Paar, Woodland Trust, Euler Hermes, CLA, Sorbus International, H Holz, Beba Energy and the Future School Trust.

To accommodate the demand for show dinner tickets, the celebration dinner is being held on site in the Clive Emson Conference Centre. Show secretary Maria Clarke said: “We felt it important in our 80th year that we find a venue which caters for large numbers so that we do not have to turn anyone away as we have done in previous years…We have already sold more tables than ever but we can still accommodate a few more if required. Deadline for booking is 1 October.”

Following the success of the inaugural conference in 2012, the National Fruit Show is partnering with FPJ for 2013. Also sponsored by Whitehead Monckton the event promises an unrivalled lineup of speakers discussing the most pressing issues for growers. There will be a national retail focus on the market in the morning and agronomy and grower issues will dominate the afternoon session.

Michael Barker, editor of FPJ said: “We are delighted to be involved in the National Fruit Show Conference and look forward to taking part in such a well-established and respected event. There are some major issues facing UK growers and this conference will give them the opportunity to hear from industry leaders and get involved in the debate first hand.”

It is with sadness, however, that the celebrations will not include one of the society’s long-standing and committed members. Sue Daly, formerly chair of the judges, died in June. Calcutt said: “Sue will be greatly missed by the society. Having inherited the role of judges’ chair from her father, Sue undertook this voluntarily, but nevertheless important role for a great number of years. In March, the Society presented her with a long-standing service award and she will be greatly missed. Reflecting Sue’s commitment to education, Class 26, the novice class, has been re-named the Sue Daly Under 26 class and a new trophy in her name will be presented to the winner.”

As part of the society’s anniversary celebrations, a bottle of champagne will be given away to one lucky visitor each hour the show is open.