First Fresh News

Red carpet flavour at annual Freshies

First Fresh held its second "Freshies" grower awards on Thursday 23rd February at the Dome Room and John and Irene Honey of Patutahi won the Supreme Award - The Freshies Trophy.

This was the second year of the annual awards designed by First Fresh to say "thank you" to their growers for their supply, loyalty and support.

"The Freshies are now in their rightful place in the calendar after the Grammy’s but before the Oscars," joked company managing director Ian Albers.

"February is the perfect time to be celebrating the previous season’s achievements."

The event drew another full house and MC Mark Sainsbury did a great job entertaining the large crowd.
"He revealed that his great grandfather was in fact the Mayor of Gisborne from 1914-1919."

It was a night for celebration to reward those growers who have performed at the highest level, Mr Albers said.

"Best in category "Freshies" were awarded across thirteen different fruit varieties the company markets.

"There were a number of back-to-back winners from last year and a number of growers who were finalists last year. Also, some new growers broke into the top four for the first time."

The Supreme award winner was selected from the category winners and this year John and Irene Honey received the solid brass Freshies trophy.

"John and Irene always consistently produce some of the best Meyer Lemons in the district," Mr Albers said.

"They are very commercial in their outlook, look after their staff and have been hugely supportive of First Fresh."

A highlight of the evening came during the announcement of the winner of the Navel Orange category.

John Miller, Director of New Zealand and China based company Foodview announced that as recognition of their partnership with First Fresh to develop Navel Orange exports into China they would offer a prize of a trip to Shanghai for the winner of the category.

"This went to Geordie and Caroline Witters who were completely overwhelmed by this most generous offer," Mr Albers said.

In addition to the best in category awards, four other awards were handed out including an innovation award won by Sally Gaddum for her work in driving a new Encore Mandarin marketing initiative.

The Unsung Hero ward was won by Lloyd Haynes for his dedication and hard work behind the scenes.

John Macpherson for the second year in a row took the outstanding contribution award and also the award for Persimmons.

"A new one, the ‘Above and Beyond’ award, was given out this year and there were two winners.

"The Galloway family and Geordie and Caroline Witters.

"In both cases the recipients had helped First Fresh in ways that were above and beyond the norm and we felt they deserved special recognition for it."

A full list of the Freshies award winners can be found here.