By Matthew Appleby
Leading ornamental and edibles growers have been honoured at the Grower of the Year Awards.
The great and the good of the industry saw Wyevale Nurseries scoop the HTA-sponsored Ornamental Grower of the Year prize, with Chandler & Dunn taking the Bakkavor and NFU-backed Edibles Grower of the Year award.
Wyevale Nurseries sales and marketing director Doug Reade collected three awards, and said the Herefordshire-based nursery stock grower’s environmental approach was fundamental in its success.
“These awards are down to our 160 staff. They’re the premier awards for the grower part of our industry and we hold them in very high esteem. Our owner Peter Williamson’s raison d’etre is environmental. We put a policy in place six or eight years ago to look at exceeding government targets in the way we are growing our plants, reducing peat, chemicals and water use. It’s where we need to be. We could be more profitable but we are environmentally sound.”
Chandler & Dunn also won the New Spitalfields Market-sponsored top fruit grower of the year for its harvest management skills, contribution to research and development and success in the industry.
Judges commended the 633ha family-run Kent-based firm for
showing “real leadership in the top- fruit sector”.
East Anglia young plant grower Delamore won bedding and pot plant grower of the year and business initiative of the year for its new £5m nursery at Wisbech. Owner Peter Wood said: “The awards were for the whole nursery of 160 people. They don’t realise how much at the forefront they are. For them to be recognised by a national award shows they are at the top level.”
Ball Colegrave managing director Sandy Shepherd said his best new plant variety of the year Angelonia Serena was also a team effort. The plant took best new plant and overall winner at the GAN show the previous week.
Technical Product of the Year went to Cropaid Natural Plant Antifreeze, a biological and ecological product that boosts plants’ resistance to cold, frost and heat injury. It is made from Thiobacillis bacteria and more than 60 minerals and was developed in Turkey.
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