Inaugural competition ‘absolute success’

COMPETITION WINNER: Matthew Gomm, who works for mixed horticulture operators the Ladd family, won the inaugural Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year title. Picture by Paul Rickard
Emily Samuel came third in the inaugural Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year competition. Picture by Liam Clayton
QUALITY CONTROL: Runner-up Young Fruit Grower of the year was Krista Manuel, packhouse liaison for Kaiaponi Farms. Picture by Paul Rickard

Orchard leader Matthew Gomm took out the inaugural Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year competition on Thursday.

The competition was held at Kaiaponi Farms at Waerenga a Hika.

The six competitors were put through their paces throughout the day and had to complete 11 different tasks, including tests on pests and diseases, spray calibration, packing and sorting fruit, labour solutions, hydra-ladder and tractor work, and fencing.

“It felt awesome to win it, especially because it was the first ever one for Gisborne. I’m stoked,” said Matthew, 23.

“The variety of challenges was really interesting, and we all got stuck in and gave it our best.”

Matthew has worked as orchard leader for the Burnside Trust, the Ladd family mixed horticultural operation, for two years.

He will represent this district in the Young Grower of the Year national final in Napier next month, competing against regional winners from the Bay of Plenty, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay, and Nelson.

“The whole competition was great, and I can’t wait to give nationals a go.

“Also, I am looking forward to learning a bit more about the industry.”

The Gisborne runner-up was Krista Manuel, who works as packhouse-grower liaison for Kaiaponi Farms, and third place went to Emily Samuel of Thompsons Horticulture.

The awards were presented at a dinner held at the White House on Thursday night, attended by more than 100 people.

Competition convenor Scott Wilson of Kaiaponi Farms said the competition was an “absolute success”.

“It was well supported by industry and enthusiastic growers.

“It sets us up for the development of the competition, and the development of the district’s young fruit growers into the future,” Mr Wilson said.

“Matthew consistently scored well across all the events, and overall it was excellent to see the quality of all the competitors.”

Matthew’s prizes include sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture Conference in Christchurch from July 23-25, a media and presentation development course, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2018 Young Grower of the Year title on August 21-22.

There were also individual prizes for the winners of categories within the competition.

New Zealand Apple and Pear and Horticulture NZ supported the event.

Orchard leader Matthew Gomm took out the inaugural Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year competition on Thursday.

The competition was held at Kaiaponi Farms at Waerenga a Hika.

The six competitors were put through their paces throughout the day and had to complete 11 different tasks, including tests on pests and diseases, spray calibration, packing and sorting fruit, labour solutions, hydra-ladder and tractor work, and fencing.

“It felt awesome to win it, especially because it was the first ever one for Gisborne. I’m stoked,” said Matthew, 23.

“The variety of challenges was really interesting, and we all got stuck in and gave it our best.”

Matthew has worked as orchard leader for the Burnside Trust, the Ladd family mixed horticultural operation, for two years.

He will represent this district in the Young Grower of the Year national final in Napier next month, competing against regional winners from the Bay of Plenty, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay, and Nelson.

“The whole competition was great, and I can’t wait to give nationals a go.

“Also, I am looking forward to learning a bit more about the industry.”

The Gisborne runner-up was Krista Manuel, who works as packhouse-grower liaison for Kaiaponi Farms, and third place went to Emily Samuel of Thompsons Horticulture.

The awards were presented at a dinner held at the White House on Thursday night, attended by more than 100 people.

Competition convenor Scott Wilson of Kaiaponi Farms said the competition was an “absolute success”.

“It was well supported by industry and enthusiastic growers.

“It sets us up for the development of the competition, and the development of the district’s young fruit growers into the future,” Mr Wilson said.

“Matthew consistently scored well across all the events, and overall it was excellent to see the quality of all the competitors.”

Matthew’s prizes include sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture Conference in Christchurch from July 23-25, a media and presentation development course, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2018 Young Grower of the Year title on August 21-22.

There were also individual prizes for the winners of categories within the competition.

New Zealand Apple and Pear and Horticulture NZ supported the event.

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