Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2013 was a marvellous day for the Food & Farming Area at the Aylsham Show.

20120827_1551The Food Hall boasted a total of 21 stands all promoting and selling a tremendous variety of delicious local food. We were very pleased to welcome some new stands for 2013, including Nortons Dairy from Frettenham, Mortons Traditional Taste (Smoked chicken and other meat) from Swanton Abbott, and two new Bakery businesses from Aylsham  –  Bread Source and Handmade Foods. We also had our established favourites including Samphire, Frances Fiennes (Thanks for making a fab cake for the ground staff) and Yare Valley Oils. We were very proud that Sarah Pettegree of Brays Cottage Pork Pies, one of our staunchest supporters, won her Category in the Aylsham Show Food Hero Awards. The Aylsham Agricultural Show is very proud to offer continuing support for our small local producers. Some of these are also farmers and give us the opportunity to celebrate the connection between the landscape around us, the food that we eat and the great farming tradition of the County of Norfolk.


Yet another 2013 Food Hero Award Category Winner, William Gribbon of Heygate Farms, lent us some great display material for the Farming & Growing Marquee  –  next year perhaps we can run a competition to guess the number of potatoes in a 10kg box of Norfolk Peer, their award winning potatoes. Huge thanks go as well go to Helen Bibby and her team from Anglia Farmers for a terrific stand, and as ever a great competition, and to Martyn Davey of Easton College  –  a really great ambassador for the horticultural and agricultural courses there. Thanks also to Slow Food Aylsham, for their Taste Trail, always popular with the children.

Norfolk Young Farmers were tremendous, not only did they bring leaflets, stickers, information about the Federation and its membership throughout the County, they also brought Jelly the Jersey Cow and a companion with lots of information about dairy cattle, dairying and the National Milk Campaign. Backing all this up with the winning competition entry (North Elmham YFC) judged at the Royal Norfolk Show, a large scale board game based on Health & Safety for the farmer/grower working alone. They also chatted to the public all day about the YFC’s and farming and the countryside in general.

Food & Farming Sponsors:

Kettle Foods Ltd and Nelson County Potatoes Ltd
“As local food champions, Nelson County Potatoes and KETTLE® Chips were proud to sponsor the Food and Farming Marquee. Nelson County Potatoes is a bespoke grower group to Kettle Foods Ltd – makers of the famous hand-cooked KETTLE® Chips – sixteen Norfolk-based growers (with generations of experience between them) produce over 60,000 tonnes of potatoes a year, of which a considerable volume goes into making KETTLE® Chips at the Kettle Foods factory in Norwich. Keeping things local is important to both companies – all of Nelson’s growers are within easy reach of Kettle Foods Ltd, allowing the whole operation from field to bag to happen within Norfolk”.

We are also extremely grateful to all our other generous and loyal sponsors of the Food & Farming Area.

  • The Banningham Crown
  • Bernard Matthews Farms
  • Trevor & Mairi Child
  • Clan Trust
  • Crisp Maltings Group
  • Foodwiz (Instant Diet Control on a Mobile Phone)
  • NFU Mutual
  • Norfolk Farmers Trust
  • Partridge Electrical Limited
  • J B Postle & Son Limited
  • Woodfordes Norfolk Ales
  • Yara UK Limited

20120827_1544We were thrilled with the entries for the Grow Your Own Vegetable Competitions, especially given the difficult growing conditions this year. We owe a great debt of thanks to Duncan Spalding, Headmaster of Aylsham High School (Also chief Tweeter!) and to Monica Harding (Co-ordinator for the Aylsham cluster of ten primary schools), for their work in supporting and distributing the information and entry forms for these competitions. Also a huge thank-you to all those schools for ensuring that all the plant packs got to all the right pupils. Our new marquee layout using blocks of individual vegetable tables was very successful with many favourable comments from the general public that it made viewing much easier.20120827_1543

Finally our sincere thanks to Mr Fothergills Seeds and Medwyns of Anglesey for their continuing support  –  their seeds are the start of everything! Also to Aylsham Growers, Irelands, Norfolk Shepherd Huts, P P Products and Yare Valley Oils.

2013 Winners of the Growing Competitions:

Giant Tomato:  Bethany, Arthur and Toby Clarke, aged 9, 7 and 3, Aldborough Primary, 463g  –  a splendid effort as it overtook the previous record by 153g!

Longest Runner Bean:  Samantha Daniels, aged 10, Bure Valley School Aylsham, 73.8cm. This was an excellent bean given the dry growing season as it was really not far behind the record 80cm achieved in 2012.

Giant Marrow:  Alena Medler, aged 9, Bure Valley School Aylsham, 8.3kg  –  Alena has been a consistent grower for us so it is great that she is a winner this year.

Giant Onion:  Henry and Charlotte Hunter-Swann, aged 12 and 9, Bure Valley School Aylsham, 742g  –  more keen growers. Their onion was terrific this year although just a little under the record weight of 882g in 2012.

Mr Potato Head:  Isabelle Nash, aged 7, St Michaels School Aylsham, won first prize with her delightful Royal Theme.

Beetroot Muffins:  Callum Adkins, aged 13, Aylsham High School, was judged the winner with a beautiful quartet of muffins. Callum told us that the first batch went wrong…perseverance wins!

NB:  Jason Baxter, Head of Hospitality and Catering at Aylsham High School, was our Individual food Hero in 2012, awarded for his inspirational teaching. It is notable that another AHS pupil  –  Emily Gasparro  –  also featured in the Mufin Role of Honour. Well done to all.

John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017

Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.

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