Apple storage winners thank Smartfresh

Some of Kent's most renowned fruit growers picked up prizes at this year's long-term farm stored competition and thanked storage regulator Smartfresh.

The annual competition, run by the Marden Fruit Show Society, awards prizes to growers with the best-stored fruit.

This year's trophies were handed out last month at the society's annual general meeting at East Malling Research in Kent. Judges jointly awarded the first prize for the Cox category to two well-known Kent growers - Clive Baxter of JL Baxter and Paul Mansfield of FW Mansfield.

"Smartfresh gives us the assurance of a smooth transition to southern hemisphere fruit," said Mansfield. "We are still packing Cox well in excess of 7kg pressure, never heard of by this time of year in pre-Smartfresh days, and we think it also helps maintain that fantastic Cox flavour."

Newmafruit won the Bramley class for the first time. Owner Melvyn Newman said new storage manager Jeremy Lendon, who picked up the Landseer Prize for store operators, was partly to thank for its success - as was the firm's investment in new storage and Smartfresh. He added: "Smartfresh has revolutionised the storage of Bramley over the past four or five years."

Other prize winners included Giles Cannon of JIB Cannon, who won this year's "any other dessert apple class" for his Gala, and Robert Mitchell, who picked up the Ron Tassell Trophy for the store operator of the best all-round exhibit. Mitchell's firm also won the pear class.

Cannon said: "Last year seemed to give Gala uniformly good skin finish, reasonable colour and excellent keeping quality with a good size range in the 60mm to 70mm band."

Mitchell added: "I'm absolutely delighted to win the pear trophy for the 2009 season. We grew a fantastic crop of pears."

He said winning the Ron Tassell Trophy meant a lot to him because Tassell was a friend. "When I first started in refrigeration engineering he was a senior engineer with JT Herbert and I gained a terrific amount of experience on the service and repair of equipment while on work experience with him," said Mitchell.

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