The Taste of Kent Awards 2019, organised by Produced in Kent, has begun with the first category, the Garden of England Champion tastiest soft fruit and cherry, judged at the National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show at the Kent County Show, Friday 6 July.
And for the first time, Blackberries will also be judged, highlighting a change to the soft fruit sector as their popularity increases.
Judged on taste alone by both professionals from the industry and members of the public the winning varieties and growers for this year are:
Cherries – Class 60 winner Brian Piper, Filmers Farm, Loose, Nr Maidstone with the variety Carmen.
Strawberries – Class 70 winner John Myatt & Co, Mockbegger Farm, Rochester with the strawberry variety Magnum.
Raspberries – Class 80 winner Total World Fruit with the Raspberry variety Ovation.
Blackberries – Class 90 John Myatt & Co, Mockbegger Farm, Rochester with the Blackberry variety Incentive.
Sponsored by the Kent County Agricultural Society, this category showcases Kent’s tastiest soft fruits. Lucy Hegarty, Show Manager from the Kent County Agricultural Society comments: “We are delighted to be supporting this award once again and it is exciting to see Blackberries included for the first time. The National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show is a key part of the Kent County Show and it is always interesting to see which entries are the winners on just taste alone.”
Tom Hulme Chairman of the National Cherry and Soft Fruit show said “The NCSFS is very pleased that our involvement with Produced in Kent and The Taste of Kent Awards continues to go from strength to strength. We are delighted that a Blackberry class has been added to the existing Strawberry, Cherry and Raspberry classes. These four TOKA categories, which are for Kent growers only, really catch the imagination of our growers and the public alike and we look forward to developing ‘The Garden of England Champion’ classes into the future. John Myatt won all three categories three years ago, two categories in 2017 and has scooped now scooped two of the four this year, so many congratulations to him and Brian Piper & Co, who have won for the second time.”
Stephanie Durling at Produced in Kent comments: “We would like to congratulate this year’s winners Each year the Garden of England Champion Soft Fruit awards kicks off the Taste of Kent Awards with the most delicious range of soft fruit and cherries. All the displayed fruit looked fantastic and tasted delicious, so it was a difficult decision for the judges to make. Kent is renowned for producing excellent fruit and our awards aim to showcase the great tastes and flavours of Kent throughout the seasons. It is so important for Produced in Kent to ensure that Kent growers are highlighted through these awards as we continue to demonstrate Kent’s fabulous fruit heritage”
The Taste of Kent Awards have been running since 2004 and are recognised as the outstanding annual showcase for Kent food and drink producers. The awards promote a wide range of categories and are open to all food and drink businesses across Kent. Public voting in the campaign opens on 13th September until early January and will see thousands of members of the public voting for their favourites. The awards demonstrate that more and more consumers are choosing to support local businesses buying Kent products and produce. If Kent residents spent just 10% of their weekly shopping budget buying something local from Kent, which is easily achievable, this can contribute in excess of £175M to the Kent economy. As the country prepares itself for Brexit, it is important to support all British businesses.
The winning growers will formally receive their award at the Taste of Kent Awards Gala dinner, which takes place in March 2019.