Perry pears will be one of the stars of the show with a display aiming to smash a world record at this year’s Malvern Autumn Show in association with Westons Cider Mill, held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, on September 29-30.
Perry and its production are synonymous with the rich orchard heritage of the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The National Perry Pear Collection was originally established at the historic Three Counties Showground in the 1990s with 164 trees of 74 varieties of Perry pear. Over the years the showground has continued to play a vital and active role in the protection and preservation of this collection, which has now expanded to a further two sites nearby, and so it is entirely fitting that this world record attempt take place at the Malvern Autumn Show.
Jim Chapman, who runs the National Perry Pear Centre in nearby Hartpury, and also caretakes part of the national collection in his own personal orchard, will be attempting to exceed the current record of 87 varieties with his display in the Orchard Pavilion.
Charles Martell, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and author of Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties, recognised the precarious position of Perry pears and took steps to prevent the loss of such a significant part of the region’s history. He was influential in establishing the national collection at the showground, and spent months travelling farms and hedgerows across the three counties identifying ancient pear trees and taking grafts to preserve these unique and endangered varieties on the showground.
Charles said: “Our Perry pears need preserving and nurturing as they are an important part of our cultural heritage. Due to their unique and rare qualities they enable smaller farmers and growers to derive a living from the land by producing a product exclusive to this area.”
With a now flourishing National Collection occupying three separate sites, the world record attempt at the Malvern Autumn Show, is a celebration of this extensive preservation work.
As well as his world record bid, Jim Chapman will be sharing his years of expertise with visitors. He will be available to answer questions, help identify pears that the public bring in and will be showcasing a new mobile phone app that colleagues are currently developing to help manage heritage collections.
Alongside the Perry pears, the Orchard Pavilion celebrates all traditional and modern orchards and hosts the Annual Fruit Juice Show, Commercial Apple and Pear competitions and the coveted People’s Choice Perry Competition that invites visitors to sample and vote for their favourite Perry.
The Malvern Autumn Show will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2018. Buy your tickets in advance and save.