Friday, 11 April 2014 15:36

Top young vege grower named

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BRETT PARKER was crowned the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014, beating six other competitors at the national competition on Thursday, April 10.


Held in Pukekohe, the day-long event saw seven contestants from around New Zealand go head-to-head in a series of theoretical and practical challenges needed to run a successful vegetable growing business.

Parker (26) works at Hinemoa Quality Producers in Pukekawa as an assistant crop manager, and won $1500 cash, $1000 for professional development and a field trip to visit other vegetable producers.

He also won a one-day media and presentation course in Wellington, an all-expenses paid trip to Christchurch to compete for the national 2014 Young Grower of the Year title in August and attendance to the 2015 Horticulture New Zealand Conference.

"I'm glad I got to compete against six other young vegetable growers who really knew their stuff. The level of skill I had to beat was incredible, and we all went above and beyond to showcase the skills you need to be a good grower," says Parker.

"Competing for the Young Grower of the Year title in August will certainly be a step up from this, and I'm definitely going to use the next few months to make sure I'm as prepared as I can be to give it my best shot."

Kiran Hari, co-ordinator of the competition, said "Everyone in this industry knows this event demands a lot from the young growers. They put on a great show and we're all quite excited to keep an eye on them as they progress with their careers".

Andrew Hutchinson (26) from Pukekohe was placed second and Herman Fourie (27) from Mangere was placed third.
The Young Grower of the Year, along with the NZ Young Fruit Grower and NZ Young Vegetable Grower awards, will be announced at an awards dinner on August 15.

The Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2014 was the first regional competition on February 14, followed by the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014 on 10 April in Pukekohe. The Hawke's Bay Young Fruit Grower 2014 competition is set to take place on 5-6 June and the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower 2014 on 18 June.

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