Hillwood grower earns fruits of his labour

SIMON Dornauf of Meander Valley Berries, at Hillwood, is the 2014 recipient of the Fruit Growers Tasmania Mark Miller Award as young fruit grower of the year.

He received his award at an awards dinner at Country Club Tasmania on Saturday.

Mr Dornauf said that his family had been in the industry for 25 years, but his involvement dated back just three years.

``It's nice to get recognition for that hard work and the big steps we've taken to get where we are,'' he said yesterday.

``We were the first farm in Tasmania to become a Driscoll's grower and have grown for them for our three years in the industry.''

Mr Dornauf said that Driscoll's started in the US from a growers' co-operative that started its own breeding program before moving to the UK and then Australia.

``As a Driscoll's grower, you grow their varieties under contract, so you know your fruit's sold as you grow it,'' he said.

``They deliver to their distribution centre daily and give us a quality check each day.''

Mr Dornauf said that just after his father bought an old cheese factory on 40 hectares of land at Hillwood, the opportunity arose to grow for Driscoll's.

``We sort of fell into it a little bit - it's been a really good move for me,'' he said.

Mr Dornauf said that he picked 310 tonnes of strawberries from the 295,000 plants on six hectares this year.

He said that his yield was the highest of any of the Driscoll's growers, at just over a kilogram of fruit from each plant.

Tasmanian young fruit grower of the year Simon Dornauf, of Meander Valley Berries, checks his strawberry crop.

Tasmanian young fruit grower of the year Simon Dornauf, of Meander Valley Berries, checks his strawberry crop.

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