Six of Nelson’s top young orchardists will vie for the title of Nelson Young Fruit Grower of the Year in Richmond this Friday, 6 July.
The champion will progress to the Young Grower of the Year national final, to be held in Hawke’s Bay in August. There, they will join the winners of the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, and Central Otago regional fruit-grower competitions, as well as two Young Vegetable Growers, to see who will be named the national Young Grower of the Year 2018.
This year’s entrants are:
- Thom Bolton of Vailima Orchards
- Jaime Cole of T&G Global
- Ray Forscutt of Fairfield Orchards
- Vanita Wijohn of Birdhurst Orchards
- Jordan Mister of Tyrella Orchards
- Dillon Peterson of Hoddys Fruit Co
Contestants will demonstrate their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including pest and disease identification, soils, and first aid. The winner will be decided at an awards dinner on Friday evening, where they will address an audience from throughout the industry on what change they would make if they were Prime Minister.
Prizes for the winner include sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture Conference in July, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2018 Young Grower of the Year title in August. There are also prizes for the winners of each individual competition event.
The Nelson Young Fruit Grower competition is organised by Andrew Kininmonth, and draws attention to the opportunities for horticultural careers in the region.
"Young Grower shows people that growing is more than just a job, it’s a career," says Andrew. "Nelson is full of potential, and the more people we have realising that, the better."
Julian Raine, president of Horticulture New Zealand, agrees on the importance of showcasing young people in the industry.
"The Nelson event is always a highlight, with such enthusiastic and talented young people each and every year," says Julian. "It’s exciting to see new faces every year, and hearing about how they came to the industry."
The Nelson Young Fruit Grower competition will be held at Hoddys Fruit Co, 16 Aniseed Valley Rd, Hope, Richmond, on Friday 6 July, with the awards dinner to follow at the Headingly Centre, Richmond that evening.