Waimea grower Canaan Balck has risen above the rest of the field to win the Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2015 title.
Six of the best young fruit growers in the Nelson region battled it out against each other in an intense day-long event on Friday 3 July at Hoddy’s Orchard in Hope.
A series of challenges tested a range of skills needed to operate a successful fruit-growing business.
Canaan Balck, 24, who is a Block Manager at Hoddy’s Orchard, won the $1,500 cash prize, which was announced at the awards dinner at the Headingly Centre in Richmond.
Mr Balck also won a one-day media and presentation course in Auckland and an all-expenses paid trip to Christchurch to compete at the national competition for the New Zealand Young Fruit Grower of the Year and Young Grower of the Year awards, run by Horticulture New Zealand, on 12-13 August.
“There were some strong competitors here in Nelson so I’m very pleased with how I did,” says Mr Balck. “The experience was awesome and I am sure the final scores must have been close.”
“It was hard work, and I’m sure the national competition will present a new set of challenges and give me the chance to develop even further as a young grower. I’m hoping to do my best and learn even more from the other regional competition winners when I’m in Christchurch.”
Andrew Kininmonth, co-ordinator of the Nelson competition, said the competition is an opportunity for young fruit growers to put themselves out there and demonstrate their talent.
“This competition has been an excellent showcase of the talent we have here in the Nelson region. There are some tremendous opportunities here, and we are delighted that this group is taking advantage of them,” said Mr Kininmonth.
Tom Dalziel, 27, from Thomas Bros took second place and won $1000 cash, and Rowan Cox, also Thomas Bros secured third place with a prize of $500 cash.
Stacey Russell from Thawley Orchards, Aaron Finlay from Turners and Growers, and Rowan Inwood from Hoddy’s Orchard also competed.