Horticulture NZ's annual report for 2020-2021 shows it was a mixed bag for the country's growers.
Van den Heuvel, 25, is an avocado services representative for Apata Group based in the Bay of Plenty.
“I am very proud to be in this industry. It is something I am very passionate about. What we produce is very top notch,” she says.
“It was great to be part of this competition and get to know my fellow competitors. We’d all like to thank the sponsors and HortNZ for giving us this opportunity.”
HortNZ president Barry O’Neil says supporting young people and encouraging more of them to join the industry is critical to its success and growth.
“At times like these, having a cause and taking time out to celebrate it is even more important than it was before.
“This year’s regional finals were oversubscribed, which shows the inherent optimism in our industry as well as the pride inherent in providing New Zealand and the world with tasty and healthy fruit and vegetables.”
The national final was held at the Lower Hutt Events Centre on 20 and 21 October, in accordance with Alert Level 2 health and safety protocols.
The Young Grower of the Year is an annual competition comprising regional finals in major fruit and vegetable growing areas and a national final.
The competition is to encourage young people to take up a career in horticulture as well as celebrate the success of young people in the industry.