The Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association is thrilled to announce that Jordan James is the 2017 winner of the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year competition.
Jordan, an orchard worker at Mr Apple, showed off the skills he has developed during his six years on the job and his level 3 national certificate in horticulture.
Jordan competed against seven other talented entrants to take out this year’s competition and takes home a prize package worth around $5000.
Jordan said “It was awesome to compete against such fine competition that the Bay provided. I’m looking forward to representing the Hawke’s Bay once again at the national final next month in Canterbury.”
Mr Apple employees took out the top three places. Anthony Taueki, an orchard manager at Mr Apple, was runner-up, while Tom Tom Dalziel, a foreman at Mr Apple, placed third. Tom also won prize for the best speech.
At this year’s event the competitors completed eight rigorous practical sessions and a quiz. The competition finished after a gala dinner where the competitors spoke for three minutes to an audience of 220.
Lesley Wilson, President of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association said the calibre of the contestants was once again outstanding.
“It was a very close competition with only 0.8 of a mark between first and fourth places. I’m really proud of all the contestants who are a great representation of the talent in our industry and its future.”
This win is just the start for Jordan. On the 16th and 17th of August he goes on to compete at the Horticulture New Zealand National Young Fruit Grower of the Year and, if successful, in the Young Grower of the Year. Prizes alone are worth $12,000. Lesley says “we will be there to support him right the way through.”
The HB Fruitgrowers’ Association would like to acknowledge the endless time that volunteers give to the local competition. “The judges, the HB Fruitgrowers’ Association executive, and our amazing sponsors are the ones who have kept this competition going for 13 years. Their enthusiasm and energy drives us and the competitors to be our very best.”
Lesley would like to personally thank all those that entered, including those who were eliminated early on. “We had 13 entrants, our highest ever, however only 8 can compete on the day. This year’s crew were the most highly qualified we have ever had. It all bodes well for the future of our industry.”