[NAFEX] Gooseberry shows
Clifford Cain - uk yahoo
cc_syorks at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jul 5 04:00:08 EDT 2010
Following on from Earnest Plutko's enquiry regarding gooseberry shows
here in the UK. Yes they still do take place.
Their history goes back some 200 years when those working in the
Lancashire cotton mills grew and bred gooseberries for local
competitions. They used to be local affairs, but with increased
transportation, they declined. In 1845 there where 171 shows today
there are 11, 10 in Cheshire and 1 in Yorkshire.
A history of the shows can be found at
Two main shows; the main show is held at Egton Bridge near Whitby on the
east coast and takes place on the first Tuesday of August. (They have a
website http://www.egtongooseberryshow.org.uk/index.htm where I leant
that they have such competitions in Sweden.) In Cheshire (boundary
changes, many of the towns where in Lancashire) the Goostry show sticks
in my mind from childhood. Back in the early 70's this 9 year old was
watching the local news on tv and there was a report on the show. Three
things stuck in my head - a gooseberry show, being held in a place
called 'Goose tree' and hairy gooseberries. I wanted to grow red hairy
ones, so next spring went to Woolworths and bought a plant for two and a
half pennies; the variety was Careless - green and smooth! May not have
worked out as I intended but got me interested.
The main issue with the old varieties is that they are susceptible to
American gooseberry mildew and the modern resistant berries are small.
I have to admit to having given up trying to grow the old varieties
organically; a number of them are sulphur shy.
Competitions vary, some weigh the fruit in dram weights, the largest
being 35 grams with is the equivalent of 62 grams / 2.19oz. Others work
as a knock out competition, two berries going on the beam balance and
the n challengers adding their heavies berries.
Whilst they did have gooseberry shows in the North East of England,
their main obsession was with leeks, particularly pot leeks. Again they
used to be numerous, but have declined. Local pubs used to host the
competitions, prized being the likes of towels and sheets. I am at
Gateshead show at the end of the month and will take photo's of the show
and post them on Flickr.
I know of your giant pumpkin competitions but did the tradition of
gooseberry shows transfer to the States?
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