Young growers snare inaugural ginger grower title

Young growers snare inaugural ginger grower title


Horticulture
SPICY WINNERS: Queensland Department of Agriculture regional manager, Jason Keating (centre), presents the Smith Shield to the inaugural winners of the Australian Ginger Growers Competition, brothers Craig (left) and Mark Weston, Yandina Creek, Qld, at the ginger industry field day at Cooroy.

SPICY WINNERS: Queensland Department of Agriculture regional manager, Jason Keating (centre), presents the Smith Shield to the inaugural winners of the Australian Ginger Growers Competition, brothers Craig (left) and Mark Weston, Yandina Creek, Qld, at the ginger industry field day at Cooroy.

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The Weston brothers are the first to have their names on the Smith Shield for winning the inaugural Australian Ginger Growers Competition.

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A PAIR of farming brothers from Yandina Creek, Queensland have become the first names on the inaugural Australian Ginger Growers Competition shield.

Craig and Mark Weston won the competition which was held in May at the Gympie Show.

The Westons are two of the youngest members of the industry and were presented the trophies at the industry's Annual Ginger Growers’ Field Day field day at Cooroy in July.

The competition was part of an image overhaul for the industry body which has revamped its website and taken a greater focus on grower communication.

TOUGH TASK: Queensland Department of Agriculture regional manager, Jason Keating and senior researcher and ginger specialist, Dr Mike Smith, assessing the entries in the first Australian Ginger Growers Competition at the Gympie Show in May.

TOUGH TASK: Queensland Department of Agriculture regional manager, Jason Keating and senior researcher and ginger specialist, Dr Mike Smith, assessing the entries in the first Australian Ginger Growers Competition at the Gympie Show in May.

Australian Ginger Industry Association communication and administrative officer, Katarina Keating, said the competition was held to both promote Australian ginger and ginger growers and create friendly competition among growers.

"Back in May we put a call out to our members to enter their ginger into our very first Australian Ginger Growers Competition as part of the fruit and vegetable section at the Gympie Show," Ms Keating said.

"We were very pleased with the number of entries and the judges, Jason Keating (regional manager) and Dr Mike Smith (senior researcher and ginger specialist) from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had a hard time selecting a winner from all the entries."

"It was great to see so much ginger on display and we will be running the completion again next year."

The perpetual Smith Shield for the competition was named in honour of Dr Mike Smith for his decades of scientific service to the Australian ginger industry.

Dr Smith said the quality of the ginger on display was high.

"In fact it was quite a challenge to pick two winners from the seven entries but the first place entry was of exceptional quality and presentation," he said.

"There was one entry of very mature ginger that we thought deserved an honourable mention but it needed a category all its own, and besides, we were only given the options of a first and second place."

He said the announcement of the winners generated great interest at the field day and the competitive spirit of growers was clear to see.

"I am sure we’ll see more entries next year and hopefully it will become an annual challenge," he said.

COMPETITION TIME: This year’s competition attracted seven entries. It’s hoped that will build next year and beyond to help raise the profile of the industry.

COMPETITION TIME: This year’s competition attracted seven entries. It’s hoped that will build next year and beyond to help raise the profile of the industry.

Winning grower, Craig Weston said he submitted a sample of the widely grown Canton variety, a tropical Asian ginger variety usually cultivated for its pungent aroma and flavour.

Mr Weston said there was value in supporting the initial competition which he described as "a bit of fun".

"It's good to get everyone involved, and get a bit of advertising for us as well," he said.

The brothers grow between four to five hectares (10 - 12 acres) of ginger mostly targeted at the fresh market, particularly through Melbourne.

He said having their names on the Smith Shield didn't mean they had any closely guarded secret to growing good ginger.

"There's probably nothing too different to what other people are doing," Mr Weston said.

"It's like any farming though - if you don't do it the right way you won't get the results."

He said it was important to keep the water up and maintain healthy plants.

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