AN amateur gardener has hit out at the New Forest Show for cancelling its annual open vegetable contest this year.
The popular competition, which allows local growers to exhibit their fruit and vegetables alongside top amateur growers from across the area, has been removed from the schedule to accommodate 2019 National Vegetable Championships. However, the New Forest Show Society has promised the open vegetable contest will be back next year.
One gardener, who claimed news of the schedule change was only “leaked” in recent weeks, told the A&T: “I for one have entered my veg at the show for many, many years. It is great fun, mixing with others and helping fellow growers.
“I only discovered there was no open show when I collected my entry form from the show ground and came home to discover what had happened.
“I am so disappointed and frankly feel cheated out of our day out which all my family enjoy.”
Last year the New Forest Show came under fire for scrapping the dedicated antiques tent. But show bosses defended the move, pointing out that all stall holders were offered alternative pitches in other sections of the New Park site. However, this year the antiques tent is set to return to the three-day event.
In response, show chief executive Denis Dooley said: “We are extremely honoured to be hosting the 2019 National Vegetable Championships, an event held in the south just once every five years and being held for the very first time at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show.
The National Vegetable Society has overseen the running of the event’s vegetable tent for the last 15 years and will continue to do so this year.
“Their national championship will attract top amateur growers from across the UK and be the pinnacle of the annual vegetable calendar,” said Mr Dooley, continuing: “While this promises to be quite a spectacle, it does unfortunately mean, due to limitations in space we are unable to hold an open show this year. We can, though, guarantee that it will return in 2020.”
“We apologise for any disappointment this may cause competitors, especially to those who missed the news at last year’s event. We hope they can understand the reasons for the change, enjoy the opportunity of seeing vegetables grown by national champions and return to the show in 2020.”