Young growers event
Four of Central Otago’s best young fruit growers are preparing to compete in this week’s regional young fruit grower competition in Cromwell.
The competition is an annual event to find Central Otago’s best young fruit grower. The winner progresses to the national Young Grower of the Year final, held in August in Christchurch, where they will compete against four regional fruit and the winner of the young vegetable grower competition for the national title.
This year’s entrants include:
❚ Waka Paul, 27, orchard worker for Parkburn Management in Cromwell. As well as being a grower, he is a champion chess player
❚ Adam Low, 26, orchardist for Leaning Rock Cherries in Alexandra. He is studying towards his Diploma in horticulture.
❚ Ben Geaney, 29, orchardist on his family farm in Waimate. He turned to horticulture after completing a diploma in mechanical engineering
❚ Ellen Watt, 21, Quality Controller at family business Waitaki Orchards in the Waitaki Valley near Kurow. Ellen is also a volunteer for the local fire brigade. Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman said the contestants completed six practical exercises designed to test the skills needed to run a successful orchard.
That included demonstrating their knowledge of agri-chemicals and completing a first aid exercise.
Prizes include a professional development tour to a growing region of their choice to learn about its horticulture industry, sponsored by Fruitgrowers’ Charitable Trust, $1500 and an allexpenses paid trip to compete for the national 2017 Young Grower of the Year title in August.
The Central Otago Young Fruit Grower competition will be held on Friday, May 26 from 11.30am at Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell campus. The awards dinner will follow from 6pm at the Moorings Restaurant and Bar at Pisa Moorings in Cromwell.