Young Fruit Growers Compete to be Nelson’s Best

27 Jun 2016

Five young fruit growers from orchards across Nelson are sharpening their pruning shears in preparation for next week’s regional Young Fruit Grower competition at Hoddy’s Orchard in Nelson.

The competitors will battle it out on 1 Friday July in a series of theoretical and practical challenges to take out the title of the region’s Young Fruit Grower. The champion will go on to represent Nelson at the national Young Grower of the Year title, hosted by Horticulture New Zealand, on 19-20 July in Auckland.

“The Young Fruit Grower competition showcases and celebrates our industry’s top young talent each year. We’re proud to be supporting the development of our industry’s future leaders and see them putting their knowledge and skills to the test,” said Horticulture NZ Chief Executive Mike Chapman.

The competition tests contestants on a range of competencies from finance and biosecurity exercises to agri-chemical knowledge and operating machinery. The challenges are designed around the fundamental skills needed to running a successful domestic or export-focused orchard of the likes that operate in Nelson.

Competitors include:

  • Rowan Inwood, 23, General Orchard Hand, Hoddys Orchard, Waimea Plains
  • Ralph Bastion, 28, Orchard Journeyman, Wai West Horticulture, Waimea Plains
  • Rowan Cox, 24, Orchard Supervisor, Thomas Bros, Riwaka
  • Tom Dalziel, 27, Orchard Supervisor, Thomas Bros, Riwaka
  • Jordan Kyle, 28, General Orchard Hand, Wairepo Holdings, Mariri

The competition is very well supported, with more than 20 organisations from around Nelson committing sponsorship, prizes, people and resources to the event.