Champion growers revealed at cherry and soft-fruit show

Cherry grower Brian Piper of Filmers Farm in Maidstone has won the champion cherry grower award at the National Cherry & Soft Fruit Show (NCSFS) (11-13 July), part of the Kent County Show, and Edward Vinson was soft-fruit champion.

A good growing season for soft and stone fruit led to more than 200 entries in the 84th year of the competition.

NCSFS chairman and soft-fruit grower Paul Kelsey said: "Last year the level of entries was down because of the late season. This year the quality of cherries is fantastic, as is the soft fruit. It's been the strongest competition we have had for a long time."

However, he added that the early arrival of the initial raspberry crop was "a little challenging in terms of shifting volumes of fruit due to the clash with Wimbledon".

Stone-fruit grower Clive Baxter, who won an NCSFS prize for his apricot crop, said the early arrival of cherries has meant that "not all of the retailers are on board".

He added: "We need all of them to support us, especially as its a very short season. The problem is when they have done a deal to import someone's cherries. You only need one of the big four supermarkets not supporting us and the whole market goes askew."


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