Kent fruit growers dominated this year’s National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show with 21 awards being shared by two Berry Gardens’ growers, Marion Regan of Hugh Lowe Farms Ltd and Paul Kelsey from Kelsey Farms LLP.
The show, which took place at the Kent County Show, was one of the few events unaffected by the weather with early judging taking place before the doors were closed on Friday.
Although the weather has had an impact on fruit crops this summer, new varieties and improved growing techniques as well as a hardened resilience from growers has meant that the majority of this year’s cherry, strawberry and raspberry crops are producing an abundance of quality fruit for consumers.
Hugh Lowe Farms Ltd from Mereworth scooped 12 awards for their entries of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries while Kelsey Farms LLP from Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury, had winning entries of raspberries and strawberries.
Paul Kelsey commented on his winning entries, “This show is a barometer for the quality of fruit grown in the UK. Every year the bar gets raised, with greater quality and new great tasting varieties challenging the judges and making the competition stronger.”
In the cherry divisions, Berry Gardens grower Lower Hope Fruit Ltd from Hereford also gained success with 6 awards for its cherries including 3 firsts.
In its 82nd year, the National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show is the leading competition of its kind and one of the oldest soft and stone fruit shows, taking entries from growers all over the UK. The annual show, now a stalwart of the Kent County Show, has a remarkable history and has been judged in Ashford and venues as far away as Selfridges in London in the past.
About Berry Gardens
Based in Kent, Berry Gardens is one of the UK’s premier soft fruit and stone fruit suppliers. Founded 40 years ago, Berry Gardens is the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group with sales in 2011 of £210 million, a market share in excess of 30% and a year round business supplying all of Britain’s leading retailers.
As a co-operative, Berry Gardens is wholly owned by UK growers making the Berry Gardens proposition unique in the UK agricultural market.