Young Vegetable Grower 2016

03 May 2016

Last week I was down in Canterbury attending the Young Vegetable Grower of the Year Final. Along with Hort NZ president Julian Raine and Vice President Tony Howey, key Hort NZ staff, and representatives from across the industry, I got to hear young growers talking about why young people would find the vegetable industry a dynamic and rewarding career.  We heard not just their own experiences, but also thoughts on how to attract more youth into the industry, a topic close to my heart.

Andrew Hutchinson from Pukekohe emerged as the winner, managing to beat off tough competition from the other three outstanding candidates. Andrew showed great technical knowledge, business savvy, and determination over the course of the event, and truly deserved the win.

The unseasonable warmth was certainly a bonus, and the event went off without a hitch. I would like to personally thank Graham Martin of Horticulture Canterbury for coordinating the event with HortNZ’s Kirsty de Jong, as well as the gold sponsors Enza Zaden and SPS. And, of course, we would all like to thank the Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association for their ongoing support.

Next up on the Young Grower calendar is the Young Fruit Grower Regional for Central Otago, taking place in Cromwell on the 22nd of May. I also look forward to the Young Grower of the Year Final in Pukekohe this July. We’ve got an excellent group of Young Growers this time around, and I can’t wait to see who will be this year’s pick of the harvest.


- Mike Chapman, HortNZ CEO