The National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show, held over the three days of the Kent County Show, is a celebration of fruit growing, allowing the best growers in the country to show the public what they do. The bringing forward of the County show by a week this year plus the delayed and reduced cherry harvest nearly caused the cancellation of this great tradition. Luckily timely intervention by the Chairman Paul Kelsey, urging more soft fruit entries to fill the gaps in the cherry entries saved the day. Cherry entries were 50% down but more strawberry entries helped the organisers to still fill the Show Tent with delicious fruit.
Only early cherry varieties were ready in time, this meant that growers who have not been winners for years were in the running again for trophies. Robert Hinge was surprised whilst delighted to find he had won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in Class 20 for early varieties Grace star, Korvic and Summer Sun.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Simon Foad (pictured) who moved up to Scotland from Kent five years ago to manage West Craigie Farm near Edinburgh. Simon drove seven and a half hours through the night to bring his entries fresh from this very successful PYO and farm shop business close to Edinburgh airport. He entered cherries, strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries and won prizes for them all including a coveted Fruiterers medal. This is only the second time Simon has entered and having taken on board the judge’s comments last year, he was hoping to do better so was obviously more than delighted with his fantastic and deserved success this year.