The Show which takes place at the Kent Showground, Maidstone sits in the heart of the County known as ‘The Garden of England’. With a vast larder of produce being grown, cooked, competed and sold, it’s one of the annual foodie highlights for Kent.
The National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show and competition is staged at the Kent County Show and entries of cherries and soft fruit are judged by a panel of experts on the first morning of the Show. The coveted ‘Best Cherry Exhibit in Show’ is couriered to Her Majesty the Queen, who looks forward to the extraordinary fruit each year.
Visitors are able to reserve and buy the remaining competition fruit. Lucy Hegarty, Kent County Show Manager said, “Kent produces some of the finest cherries and soft fruit in the world and has the perfect climate to ensure that the July entries are ready at the peak of their maturity. The fruit is sensational and visitors are delighted to have the opportunity to buy world class fruit during the Show”.
The Food Tent houses a variety of local, national and international stands. High on the list for many visitors are the wonderful artisan cheeses, sausages, baked goods and ice cream. The area covers a large marquee where visitors can take in the aroma and chat to producers about their products. Samples and cooking tips are one of the highlights for visitors who can shop for unusual and creative products that are unavailable on the high street.
Another area dedicated to championing local food, drink, products and services is the Produced in Kent area at the Kent County Show. This membership organisation provide vital support to a diverse range of businesses which in turn provide valuable employment opportunities in Kent and are at the economic heart of our rural communities. Produced in Kent is a strong, widely recognised brand and their large area at the Kent County Show sees thousands of visitors enjoying wares from over 50 producers.
Jill Sargent from Produced in Kent explains, “Our members enjoy coming to Kent’s largest outdoor event and visitors are often amazed at the diverse range of producers from Kentish Gin to Venison Burgers. We have a couple of breweries and several cider producers that do very well because Kent has such a lengthy association with hops and apples”.
The Kent County Show hosts a number of beer tents run by Shepherd Neame, a large Kent based brewery who now market their beer through all the major supermarkets and have established a global market. There are also a number of Kentish ciders and wines that the public have the opportunity to try and take home from local and national producers, many of which were recent winners at the Taste of Kent Awards.
There are several food courts of cooked and prepared food at the Kent County Show. The organising team have worked hard to ensure there is a variety of food and as much of the food offered throughout the Show has a regional flavour. The newly located food court in the centre of the Showground will include an array of street food and being based around the band stand, the Show organisers hope to create a festival feel to the look, feel and taste of the food on site.