This year's National Fruit Show will take place on October 25 and 26 in Maidstone.

Growing fruit in the UK, like many other crops, has seen a transformation over the past decade. The biggest change has been the advances in orchard design, harvesting technology and the advances in new varieties. The National Fruit Show recognises the importance of many of these new varieties and several have their own competition classes.

Brian Tompsett, chairman of judges, said "The huge variety of fruit we grow commercially in the UK makes for a wonderful display and highlights the change in consumer preferences. Our expert panel of judges has a difficult job as the new disease resistant varieties and recent innovations in growing techniques makes their job ever more challenging."

The competition fruit is judged by 24 industry experts on six criteria and awarded a total out of 100 points. The judges look for the fruit being free of disease, pests, bruising and other damage for a total of 40 points. The remaining 60 points are awarded for the fruit's internal condition, skin quality and uniformity of both size and colour. Each entry gaining 85 points or more is automatically entered once for every three fruit entries from classes 1 - 19 into a prize draw.

This year, sponsor Greenyard is providing the prize of a luxury five-night stay in Cape Town, South Africa, for two people. The prize includes flights, accommodation and an accompanied visit to a fruit farm in the Cape area.

The closing date for apple and pear classes is October 9, cobnuts and walnuts, is October 13, soft fruit is October 20 and entries for the heaviest competitions October 18.