One of the top fruit industry’s leading organic growers, Paul Ward of Mole End Farms in Kent, took on conventional growers in this year’s fruit competition at the National Fruit Show and walked away with a handful of rosettes and prizes. The W. Bruce Challenge Cup, the Sue Daley Trophy, the Haynes Agricultural Prize and the DSH Prize all came Paul Ward’s way.
This was his first year entering the competitive classes and was ably supported by Romanian Nicoleta Ionita who selected and presented fruits from varieties as diverse as Autento, Spartan and Rubinstop and his proudest entry, Gala, using the Galaxy clone from two-year-old trees.
It was noted that the difference between first, second and third was often as little as 1.75 marks, so tight is the judging and marking, and so much more commendable for Paul. “I am indebted to the painstaking selection of the fruit by Nicoleta, and I am delighted to demonstrate that organically-grown English fruit can match the standards set by conventional growers”.
Paul Ward enjoyed real success in 2010 by winning not only the Young Orchard of the Year in the NFU Paddock Wood Orchard Competition, but also the Organic Grower of the Year Award.