Eight are in the running but who will be crowned the winner of the fruity crown?

A diverse group of young fruit growers have stepped up to compete in the 2020 Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition.

The competition, which also accepted participants from the Northland region, is now in its 13th year celebrating young and upcoming leaders in the horticulture industry.

This year's competitors spanned from Katikati to Ōpōtiki and also include one entrant from Whangārei.

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Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Growers Upskilling Committee chairman Andrew Dawson said after a call last year for more females to compete, it was great to see five of the eight contestants were female.

The competition will take place from 9am to 3pm on February 8 at the Te Puke A&P Show.

A gala dinner and awards ceremony will be held the following Wednesday at the Trustpower Baypark in Mount Maunganui.

The winner of the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition then goes forward to the national final of the NZ Young Fruit Grower in August in Wellington.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. CEO Nikki Johnson said horticultural industries, such as kiwifruit, were expanding rapidly and there was a need for skilled, young people to help lead the industry to meet this demand.

She said the competition was "an excellent chance to celebrate and showcase the talent that we have".

Event organiser Renee Fritchley encouraged people to head along to the competition day and gala dinner to support the competitors.

"Both events are exciting to watch," she said.

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"It's great to see these horticulturalists in action and the competition at the Te Puke A&P Show makes a great day out. The Gala dinner is also an entertaining evening and the MC will be Guy Williams.

Information and tickets to the gala dinner can be found here.

The competitors

• Emily Crum: orchard manager, Total Orchard Management Services, Whangarei
• Bryce Morrison: technical services and innovation, Fruition, Tauranga
• Aurora McGee-Thomas: trainee orchard manager, Strathmurray Farms, Tauranga
• Melissa van den Heuvel: industry systems associate, NZ Avocado, Tauranga
• Katherine Bell: avocado grower representative, Trevelyans, Katikati
• Megan Fox: orchard technical advisor, Southern Cross Horticulture, Tauranga
• William Milsom: machinery operations manager, Oropi Management Services, Oropi
• Harry Singh: orchard manager, Prospa Total Orchard Management, Ōpōtiki