Growers vie for title

01:22, Jun 26 2012

Nelson's top young fruit growers go head-to-head tomorrow to see who is the best in the region. The winner will go on to compete for the national Young Grower of the Year title in Auckland next month.

Nine competitors – a record number – compete in an intense one-day event involving nine tasks, all testing essential skills a successful grower needs to run a business, including assembling an irrigation system, block analysis and administering first aid. The competition will finish with a general information quiz and a speech.

The finalists are Jess Charles, 22, and Harley Thompson, 22, both from Inglis Horticulture, Riwaka; Jos Bell, 27, from Hoddy's Orchard, Waimea Plains; Dan Phillipps, 21, from Wai West Horticulture, Waimea Plains; Zoe Eld, 29, and Todd Harwood, 21, from Kono Horticulture, Motueka; Brothers Mark Thomas, 25, and Steve Thomas, 23, from Thomas Bros, Riwaka; Jonathan Sutton, 19, from Daelyn Partnership, Waimea Plains.

Last year's Nelson winner, Kevin Withington, who went on to win the national title, said the competition gave young horticulturists an ideal opportunity to showcase their skills outside of their normal work environment.

This year's competition will be held at Hoddy's Orchard Packhouse. The event begins at 9.30am and the public is welcome.