Top talent to vie for first Central Otago Young Fruit Grower 2015 title

18 May 2015

Some of New Zealand’s best young fruit growers will battle it out to win the inaugural Central Otago Young Fruit Grower 2015 competition next week.

The competition, the first for the region, will see six competitors go all out in a one-day competition on Wednesday 27 May 2015 at the Horticulture Training Facility’s Central Otago campus in Cromwell.

The winner will then compete against four other champions for the prestigious Young Grower of the Year 2015 title at the national competition, hosted by Horticulture New Zealand in Christchurch on 12-13 August.

“This year marks the first time that we’ve held a regional Young Fruit Grower competition in Otago. It’s great to see the high standard and calibre of the contestants and highlights the great talent we have in the region,” says Grant McKay, co-ordinator of the competition.

The six competitors come from across the Otago region:

  • Alexandra: Jonathan Bates (22), CAJ Van der Voorts (Hollandia Orchard, Earnsclugh); Adam Low (24), McIntosh Orchards
  • Roxburgh: Jack Gilchrist (21), Willowbrook
    • Cromwell: Michael Harland (23), Fortune Fruit Company;  James Huffadine (23), Parkburn Management 
    • Timaru: Damien Febery (29), MA Orchards Timaru

The competition puts contestants through a range of challenges designed to test their core skills of running a fruit growing business. These include identifying biosecurity pests and diseases, tractor skills and irrigation.

The winner of the Central Otago Young Fruit Grower competition receives a $1500 cash prize and the opportunity to compete for the national 2015 Young Grower of the Year award.

The Central Otago Fruit Grower 2015 competition will be held on Wednesday 27 May from 9am at the Central Otago campus, Horticulture Training facility, 25 Bannockburn Rd, Cromwell. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at the end of the day’s activities.