The 89th National Fruit Show opens on Tuesday, and Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, is set to be among those in attendance at the Kent County Showground on Wednesday.
The Countess will partake in some of the festivities, which will include sessions from some of the top growers and retailers as well as a careers session hosted by The National Fruit Show education team with local school children.
“We are absolutely delighted that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will attend the show,” said Sarah Calcutt, Executive Chair of The National Fruit Show. “Highlights will include meeting fruit growers, industry and retail representatives at a LEAF hosted (Linking Environment and Farming) roundtable discussion and observing a demonstration careers session.”
Along with other local dignitaries, broadcast journalist and author Tom Heap and Beanstalk Global’s Max McGillivray, are also scheduled to lead some of the discussions.
The show touted as “by growers for growers” will feature a close look at soft fruit technology. Among the highlights this year, aside from the HRH’s appearance, will be the Fruiterers Livery Conference; a session from the Rural Policy Group on Farming for the Environment led by Heap and including Freshfel’s Philippe Binard; and Sustainable Innovation in Horticulture with the team from Growing Kent and Midway (precision dosing spraying, bee pollination, enhancing nutrition of tomatoes, biochar and apple canker). Laurence Olins is expected to chair a panel discussion in the Fruiterers conference.
A focus on careers and workforce of the future also will be a key part of the two-day event.
“There are a range of highly skilled careers opportunities in the sector seeking talented individuals,” Calcutt said. “Within horticulture there are many exciting, technology driven developments taking place and we are working to bring together fruit growers and the businesses that supply them to create a world leading, stronger and more sustainable sector for the future. Horticulture is a sector which I believe has been overlooked by schools’ careers advisers in recent years and we aim through access to better education, to dispel the myths about working within it.”
The show, of course, also will highlight the best of British apples and pears on display. Main sponsors include BASF, Hutchinsons, N.P. Seymour Ltd, Worldwide Fruit, UKCA Ltd and Isolcell.