Several NFU members scooped top prizes at the UK Grower Awards 2014 this week.
The awards celebrated the best of British horticulture this year and offered growers the chance to showcase their achievements.
NFU Deputy President, Minette Batters, gave the opening address at the awards and the evening was hosted by television presented Philippa Forrester.
Members, Barnsfold Nurseries, were announced as the winner of the Protected Ornamental Grower of the Year award. The NFU is proud to nominate them for the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) International Grower of the Year 2014. As the AIPH member organisation representing UK growers, the NFU has the opportunity to select the British entry for the international contest. If then selected as one of the top five nominees in the world, this nomination becomes a prize in itself as the costs to attend the contest final will be paid by the AIPH and FloraCulture International. The contest final will be held in Qingdao, China in September 2014.
NFU National Horticulture and Potatoes Board member Tim Edwards and his team at Boningale Nurseries scooped the top prize in the Best Business Innovation category.
The British Tomato Growers Association won Best Consumer Marketing Campaign, it was awarded to the finalist with the most innovative campaign. The Tomato Growers' Association represents British commercial tomato growers across the UK. They work to create a clear identity for high quality, home grown tomatoes and want to persuade people to look at the label to see where they are grown. They also want to emphasise and reassure consumers that growing methods are both natural and complimentary to the product and to the environment.
Produce World Group walked away with the top prize for the ‘Best New Variety: Edible Crops’ for the Chinese leaf, Tatsoi. Although a traditional vegetable in Asia, Produce World is the first company to produce it commercially in the UK.
Dara O’Doherty, New Product Development Manager at Produce World said: “Tatsoi has a sweet and tangy flavour and can be an accompaniment to many different dishes. The vegetable has a short growth cycle, taking only a matter of four or five weeks from planting to harvest. Tatsoi can be treated like spinach and can be used in salads, wilted, stir-fried or sautéed.”
These NFU members are one of the largest vegetable growers in Europe and employ around 1,000 people. While the focus of the business is very much on innovation and development there is a strong family feel to the company.
Exports were also recognised at the award ceremony and Viking Nurseries took home the top prize for their rhododendron and conifer exports.
The NFU is the principle sponsor of the awards.
Other awards for NFU members include:
Top Sales or Marketing Professional – Rick McKeever, Lovania Nurseries
Nursery Stock Grower of the Year – Lovania Nurseries
Soft Fruit Grower of the Year – Vicarage Nurseries
Top Fruit Grower of the Year – AC Goatham and Son
Vegetable Grower of the Year – Bedfordshire Growers
Young Grower of the Year - Jorge Nobrega, Lovania Nurseries
Ornamentals Grower of the Year – Barnsfold Nurseries
Edibles Grower of the Year – AC Goatham and Son
Lifetime Achievement Award – Tom Wood, Founding Director of Oakover Nurseries