Show adds mixed-fruit category to line up of juice awards

Many past winners of the long-standing National Fruit Show's juice competition again demonstrated that their achievement was not a one-off.

The 23rd competition, staged by permission of Agrichandlers (Emma Nash Ltd), was given added interest with a new class for juices made from two or more different fruits.

The other two classes were for blended apple juices and single-variety juices, cloudy or clear, with cloudy being the most popular.

"A lot of producers have been blending their apple and pear juices with juice from other fruit and so it seemed right for us to keep pace with what the industry is doing," said juice competition steward Robert Oliver, deputy chairman of the Marden Fruit Show Society.

However, several entries for the new class contained ginger, elderflower or rhubarb, he added - none of which are fruits. Although these juices were judged with the other entries, with one or two vying for prizes, they were excluded from the prize list.

However, Oliver said that for next year's competition the rules might be changed to allow non-fruit juices to be included in the new class as elderflower and rhubarb are farm products and their juice is sold in commercial quantities.

Because the competition attracted 62 entries, two judging panels were needed to do the initial assessment and to speed up the process of finding the best. Chairmen of the two panels were Dr David Pennell and Dr Jonathan Blackman.

Best of the 16 entries for the new class was a cloudy apple (Elstar) and raspberry (Glen Ample) juice produced by RH & JC Elgie, based at Hilter Fruit Farm, Gloucestershire. The company was also second with a Bramley/Egremont Russet juice in the blended-apple class, which attracted 15 entries.

The single-variety class was the most popular with 31 entries. The winner was Maynard House Orchards of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, made by Chris and Sarah Hardingham, with a cloudy Cox entry. Last year, the business's cloudy Cox/Bramley won the blended class.

The Hardinghams, who attributed their success to picking their juicing apples at the optimum tree-ripe stage, also won this year's blended class with Bramley/Cox.

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