The BEPA Annual Dinner was held at Belton Woods Hotel on 16 November and was attended by over 100 members of the UK pulse trade and their guests. The event featured the awards to winners of the 2017 Pulse Crop Competition and a successful Charity Auction.
The Crop Competition, judged by six BEPA members and managed by Robert Brown, yielded a batch of excellent samples from this year’s harvest, despite it being a less-than-perfect growing season for all arable crops.
Awards were given to the winning grower and their merchant in six classes: Any Variety Marrowfat, Any Variety Large Blue, Spring Beans, Winter Beans, Yellow Pea, and Any Other Pea.
The Dinner also featured the traditional Charity Auction, run by Paddy and Justin Barratt with their usual flair, and raised almost £8,000 for the Hollytree Foundation - a charity that supports the parent/carers of children in mental health units through small grants to aid the logistical & financial pressures on maintaining family contact.
Speaking at the Dinner, President Franek Smith noted that 2017 has been an interesting year for pulses with a variable harvest across the board - whether for peas or beans – leading to a changeable marketplace.
Yields and quality have varied around the country, with yields better and quality poorer than 2016, presenting both challenges and opportunities for growers and the trade alike.
On the plus side, farmers who truly produced excellent quality in 2017 received a good premium.
Looking forward to both the New Year and crop 2018, there are both opportunities and challenges for farmers, merchants, processors and end users.
Top: (L-R) Franek Smith, Lewis Cottey, Robert Brown, Andy Bury at the Dinner
Middle: The Charity Auction was run by Paddy and Justin Barratt with their usual flair
Bottom: The six BEPA judges who evaluated the Crop Competition samples