SOUTH Australian apple, pear and citrus growers were recognised for their quality produce in the Royal Adelaide Show's commercial fruit judging in September, with well-known producers again taking out the top accolades.
Under judges Andrew Christophides, Costa Exchange; Theo Coste, Adelaide Produce Markets; Joe Schinella, Schinella's Fresh Fruiterer; and Glyndon Flavell, Forrest Range, champion titles were awarded to the best plate of five, tray or carton.
Champion plate of any citrus was awarded to DM Arnold and Son, Waikerie, while champion carton of citrus was won by a box of mandarins entered by Jumaluk, Wakerie.
Citrus SA chairman, Mark Doecke, Waikerie, said the size, shape and consistency of the plate of five navel oranges was "perfect".
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"The five were identical and the judges were looking for perfection on the inside and outside," he said.
Mr Doecke said the cartons of citrus entered by packing distributors were judged on taste and cosmetic quality, consistency in the carton and correct waxing.
"The waxing is important for exporting because it seals in the moisture while the fruit travels on a boat for three weeks," he said.
Mr Doecke said after another difficult year for the industry, he was pleased with the quality of entrants.
"Wind blemish has been a big issue, so it was great to see fruit looking so wonderful," he said.
The champion tray of apples and plate of any five apples was won by Ceravolo Orchards, Ashton, while champion tray and plate of any five pears was awarded to Gilmours Orchards, Paracombe.
Lenswood apple grower Mel Ware and member of the SA Apple and Pears Growers Association said the Royal Adelaide Show was an important opportunity to meet consumers "face-to-face".
"Customer relations is major priority," she said.
"It is important to discuss with consumers about how we grow the fruit they buy from the supermarket and also how best to care for it once they get it home. A lot of people are wanting to know where their product is grown these days, how it is produced and where they can source the best local fruit."
On display at the Royal Adelaide Show were also hailstorm hero products from the state's producers who have had their crops damaged by hail during the past two seasons.
Ms Ware said it was crucial the public was advised that the fruit was still top quality.
"We have had a lot of questions about how we were affected by hailstorms - in particular about how we have coped," she said.
"It was great to see how much the general public's interest has increased about how fruit arrives at their local supermarket."