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Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

Newent Onion Fayre


After judging the Newent Show last year I persuaded the committee to alter the schedule somewhat and introduce leeks, chives, spring onions and Garlic to make the show a complete Allium event. The standard and the entries were high and the visitors found the locals hard to beat.

More than 10,000 visitors flocked to the streets of the historic market town of Newent on Saturday 14th September to enjoy it’s annual Onion Fayre. Newent I suppose must be a town that knows it”s onions, as the whole day in reality is all about the onion and it’s family. The show has most certainly the right to call it an annual event as it started way back in the 13th century under the seal of King Henry 3rd of England. There is certainly an onion show there, but the whole day is much more than that, there are ropes of onions being made, steel bands, street dancing and singing. Luckily for me I am old enough to remember the Wurzels, great rural rockers with their famous hit song about the Combine Harvester; I certainly enjoyed them.

Revised Schedule

After judging the show last year I persuaded the committee to alter the schedule somewhat and introduce leeks, chives, spring onions and Garlic to make the show a complete Allium event. The standard and the entries were high and as I  said in my article prior to the show, the visitors did find the locals hard to beat. One nice thing I suppose about being a judge is the fact that at the end your deliberations, you inevitably make some growers happy.

Peter and George Trigg

At this particular show however I made one happy grower ecstatic when I not only awarded him the First prize card for his dish or Red Baron onions, he was also given the National Vegetable Society award card and medal for the most meritorious dish in the show. Little did I realise until I met the grower, Peter Trigg, that this was the first time ever for him to win with onions at any show, never mind getting the best exhibit as well.  I hope he is now well over his celebratory hangover. The onion sets were planted straight out in the open garden and harvested about seven weeks before the show. They were then cleaned up and each onion wrapped in greaseproof paper and kept under the greenhouse bench. They were a fantastic set of three.

This was a family affair with his brother George again winning a number of red cards as he did last year. His art of creating a string of onions is well worth seeing and he won both classes with a string of  Red Baron in the red class and with a string of Delta in the white. To crown his day Peter also won the well contested collection of onions and shallots where the schedule asks for 3 onions exceeding 250 gram, 3 onions not to exceed 250gram, 5 large shallots and 5 pickling shallots to pass through a 30mm ring. Peter just managed to pip last years winner, Martin Davies by half a point, with Peters onions over 250gram giving him the edge.

Ray Basset

A first time visitor and exhibitor to the show was Ray Basset who is well known by now on the show circuit, Ray won the pot leek class with a pair measuring well over fifteen inches in circumference. Ray also won the class for nine large shallots.

Setting a Challenge

 Let me set a challenge to some of you growers out there, make a note in you diary to have a go at this show on the corresponding Saturday next year. There are 17 classes to compete for and the smallest prize money is £10.00 with some at £15.00 and others at £30.00. Not only will you have a good show, your family will find more than enough to occupy them for the whole day as well.

Master Class Weekend

Can I remind you that my Master Class weekend on vegetables is going ahead from Friday the 8th November through to Sunday lunch time the 10th. The whole weekend is packed with 7 top speakers. Mike Day from NIAB on Vegetable varieties for today, Rob Foster on Water and it’s importance in Horticulture, John Trim on Root Vegetables my way, Alan Romans from Scotland on the World of Potatoes. Gerald Treweek on growing exhibition Carrots and Parsnips, Tom Henshaw on growing exhibition onions and Trevor Last on growing cucumbers. The event is being held at one of North Wales’s premier hotels, The Royal Victoria at Llanberis. There is still room for a few participants. For further details write to Medwyns, Llanor, Old School Lane, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey LL61 5RZ or e mail on medwyn@llanor.fsnet.co.uk or phone on 01248 714 851.


Growing Parsnips

25th July 2007 I am often asked what is the best method of growing both long carrots and parsnips for the show

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