Food is set to be a key feature of this year’s Malvern Autumn Show, which top chefs offering their expert advice at the event at the Three Counties Showground on Saturday and Sunday.
The spotlight will be shone on the humble hop which has reached new heights of appreciation thanks to the craft brewing revolution.
An Orchard and Hopyard Pavilion will be celebrating the fact that more than half of the hops grown in the UK are produced in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire – known as the Hopshires.
Local brewers are producing beers using only hops grown in the Hopshires and visitors can put them to the test in the Show’s pavilion.
A series of demonstrations are planned for the Wot’s Cooking Cookery Theatre and treats can be sampled in the Food and Drink Hall .
Sharon Gilbert, the show’s communications manager, said: “Food is something that runs through all our shows because of our charitable objective to give small local producers a platform.
“They’re not like the big boys with lots of staff and stock – some of them are one-man bands – but they’re increasingly popular as people want to know the provenance of their food, where it comes from and what’s gone into it.
“If you’re a small producer making food and drink with taste you need a shop window and you can’t get a much better shop window than this.”
Last year the show welcomed a record 69,000 visitors over two days.
It was the first time it had hosted the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship, formerly held at the Bath and West Showground, an event that will be returning this weekend.
Expecting to see some of the largest produce in Britain, organisers will wait to see if any British or European records can be beaten this year.
They’ll also be welcoming on one of the world’s best 3D giant pumpkin carvers.
Simon McMinnis, from Lancashire, is making a name for himself as a squash-sculpting maestro, regularly winning Wychwood Brewery ’s Art of Pumpkin Carving competition.
Sharon said: “Everybody loves the giant vegetables. It’s the biggest draw for the public and the press.
“We’ve always had giant vegetables at the show and they’ve always caused a real stir but last year the UK National Championships chose to come here for the first time.
“There are so many entries this year that we’ve had to put them in a different area.
“People just can’t understand how you can get veg to grow that large. Sometimes the growers will tell you how, and sometimes they won’t.
“The whole thing is shrouded in mystery and fascination.
“Children love sitting on the giant pumpkins and standing against the giant leeks. It’s very visual and always makes great pictures.
“With the pumpkin carver too, it will be a real source of fun.”
Television gardener and renowned writer and broadcaster Monty Don will be at the show alongside his BBC Gardeners’ World co-presenter Joe Swift, Royal Horticultural Society judge Jim Buttress, and Mark Diacono, the former head gardener at River Cottage.
Monty and Joe will be appearing in the Good Life Pavilion, talking about gardens and travel, allotmenteering, foraging and autumn cocktails.
The pavilion is also promising a series of spectacular show gardens including A Brave New World of Beauty, designed by Caroline Tatham of the Cotswold Gardening School.
Her design is based on the idea of leaving perennials to stand over winter, so that they can be enjoyed in the frosty garden, rather than tidying them away, and the planting depicts three of the four seasons – autumn, winter and spring.
Malvern favourite Caspian Robertson is returning with Scatter Roses, designed with Daniela Krasnanova – a garden dedicated to the life and music of Sir John Tavener, whose final work was Scatter Roses Over My Tears.
Inspired by Rumi’s namesake poem, it also takes inspiration from the wonderful varieties and colours in the new 2015 David Austin Rose catalogue.
Pennard Plants has created a meadow garden filled with an abundance of fruit trees, and featuring a productive vegetable patch and a beautiful flower garden.
Other attractions will include a Vintage Village offering jive lessons, a Royal Horticultural Flower Show, grow your own demonstrations, an artisan food market, native livestock and country pursuits and crafts.
Family entertainment will include spectacular stunts from the BMX team Savage Skills, freestyle bi-plane aerobatics and animal parades, and 600 trade stands will offer a chance for early Christmas shopping.
* For more details visit www.threecounties.co.uk/malvernautumn