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Riwaka grower wins Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2014

Riwaka grower Steve Thomas has beaten fierce competition to win the Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2014 title.

Six of the best young fruit growers in the Nelson region battled it out against each other in an intense day-long event on Friday 14thFebruary at Hoddys Orchard.

A series of challenges tested the practical and theoretical skills needed to operate a successful fruit growing business.

Mr Thomas (25), who is a Kiwifruit New Variety Manager and Coolstore Manager for Thomas Bros in Riwaka, won $1,500 cash and an orchard study trip to Hawke’s Bay that includes airfares and accommodation.

Mr Thomas also won a one-day media and presentation course in Wellington and an all-expenses paid trip to Christchurch to compete for the national New Zealand Young Fruit Grower of the Year and Young Grower of the Year awards.

“It wasn’t easy going up against the top young fruit growing talent here in Nelson,” says Mr Thomas. “But I’m pleased with my performance and it was a great opportunity to see what we’re all capable of in a fun and testing environment.”

“I really had to push myself against these guys, and I’m sure the national competition will present a new set of challenges and give me the chance to develop even further as a young grower.”

Mr Thomas will go on to compete at the national Young Grower of the Year finals in Christchurch from 14-15 August.

Canaan Black (23), from Hoddys Orchard in Waimea Plains was placed second overall and Mark Thomas (27), who is Steve Thomas’ brother and also works at Thomas Bros in Riwaka, walked away in third place.

ENDS

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