Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) has announced its 2016 National Awards for Excellence winners at the 2016 National Horticulture Convention.
“Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for an award – it was so exciting to examine the nominations and to be reminded about the innovative work people in our industry are doing to help improve orchard productivity and profitability,” says APAL CEO John Dollisson.
“Recognising the role that fruit growers play in the broader health and well-being of Australians, and the Australian economy and environment is important.
“We should never underestimate the importance of our industry and the people who constitute it.”
Grower of the Year
Mark Trzaskoma, Battunga Orchards
Mark is the Production Manager at Battunga Orchards, Victoria. Mark has rapidly transformed the 72 hectare orchard to become one of the most progressive in Australia. The orchard systems on Battunga are typically 2D and 2D conversion that achieve superior yields and packouts. Mark is inspiring apple and pear growers to stretch their current thinking on change and innovation.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Ugo Tomasel, Queensland
Ugo is an apple grower in Pozieres, Stanthorpe, Queensland, although he has recently sold his business. Ugo has given a lot of his time and expertise to further develop the industry in the region and nationally. He served on the APAL Board for many years and was also on the Horticulture Australia Ltd Industry Advisory Council.
Lifetime Achievement Award
David Gartrell, NSW
David was Chair of Appledale Processors Co-Operative Limited in Orange, NSW, for over 30 years taking it from a startup co-operative to a major business. He is an apple grower in his own right and has been a key advocate for local apple growers and pioneered innovative ideas such as mechanical harvesters for juicing in the region.
Rising Star of the Year Award
Mel Ware, Mahnew Orchards
Mel has worked at Mahnew Orchard for more than ten years, initially as a farm hand, then as manager for the last few years. She single-handedly achieves all that is required on a day-to-day basis, grows good quality fruit and participates in promotional activities too.
Exporter of the Year Award
Howard Hansen, Hansen Orchards
Howard is the owner and manager of Hansen Orchards, Tasmania. Howard was the first to export apples to mainland China in 2014 and has played a pivotal role in supporting local growers export to a range of Asian markets in an effort to reduce pressure on the local market and improve domestic prices.
Marketer of the Year Award
Montague recently celebrated ten years of Jazz™ apples in Australia. Jazz is one of the first branded apples on the Australian market and Montague have done extensive work to promote it across billboards, social media and through public relations channels. They prioritise quality and have extended the brand to juice and cider.