Hawkes Bay’s young fruit grower champion is set to battle it out in Christchurch next week for the national title of Young Grower of the Year 2017.
Jordon James, 25, an orchard worker at Mr Apple in Whakatu, triumphed over seven other young fruit growers to take home the Hawkes Bay Young Grower of the Year title in July.
On August 16 and 17, at the Sudima Airport Hotel in Christchurch, Jordon will test his horticultural skills and knowledge against the other finalists to compete for both the national title of Young Fruit Grower of the Year and the Young Grower of the Year 2017.
The competition is run by industry representative Horticulture New Zealand and sponsored by the Horticentre Trust and is now in its 11th year. In the national competition, one vegetable grower is pitted against four fruit growers to vie for the Young Grower of the Year title. One of the four fruitgrowers is also named Young Fruit Grower of the Year.
During the competition, Jordon will compete in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to run a successful export-focused horticultural business. All finalists also take part in a leadership panel discussion, before delivering a speech in front of the judges at a dinner event, where the winner is announced.
Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman, said the aim of the competition was to foster excellence amongst young growers and future-proof what is a $5.6 billion industry that exports 60% of total production to about 124 countries.
“The competition is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our exceptional young growers while also supporting them in their futures. Jordon is a great example of the young people who are passionate about the industry’s future and their role in it. He has such a promising career ahead of him.”
Ben will compete against the following finalists:
Young Vegetable Grower 2017 – Scott Wilcox, Pukekohe
Central Otago Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ben Geaney, Waimate
Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Erin Atkinson, Te Puke
Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ralph Bastian, Appleby