Consultant and orchardist Earnscy Weaver, of Alexandra, was given a life membership from the Summerfruit New Zealand (SFNZ) board during its conference last week.

His years of service - he thinks it was about 15- to the board was recognised when Weaver received the award during the conference's formal dinner in Queenstown on June 6.

SFNZ's research and development manager Dr Chris Hale was also given a life membership and SummerGreen facilitator Terry Fraser was given a special recognition award.

Simon Tallon, co-opted marketer on the board, of Fresh Direct, was awarded the Mack Nicol Award for commitment to excellence.

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About 240 attended the 25th two-day conference, which included the annual meeting, and visiting Suncrest and Lake Terrace Cherries orchards in Cromwell.

Weaver stepped down from the board and Cromwell orchardist Trudi Webb was elected to replace him at the annual meeting.

Alexandra's Springvale Orchards workers Cam Smith, of Alexandra, and Stefan Bain, of Dunedin, attended the Summerfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Alexandra's Springvale Orchards workers Cam Smith, of Alexandra, and Stefan Bain, of Dunedin, attended the Summerfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

He said he knew he was going to receive the life membership as he had attended the meeting when the award had been proposed.

He had previously received a similar one from Horticulture New Zealand to recognise his services to the industry, about 18 months ago.

Weaver will continue to run his consultancy, Weaver Horticulture Ltd, and will also work on his cherry orchard in Springvale.

''I am going to get my life more in balance,'' Weaver said.

''There was a lot of travelling to meetings and reading papers, which was just normal stuff to keep up with the play, but it will be good to step back a bit.''

He had enjoyed being involved with SFNZ's research projects.

'''I found that, for me, was a challenge and fun.''

Lake Terrace Cherries Ltd orchard co-owner Ben Van Gool, of Cromwell, talks about the family operation during a visit by delegates. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Lake Terrace Cherries Ltd orchard co-owner Ben Van Gool, of Cromwell, talks about the family operation during a visit by delegates. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

Weaver will also continue as a board member for the grower co-operative, Apricot Co, which is overseeing the release and marketing of new apricot varieties, Nzsummer2, Nzsummer3 and Nzsummer4.

''There were 20,000 trees budded during the last budding season and in the near future we will be calling for orders again,'' he said.

''We are still working on the operations model [for the co-op], and the financial model is still being thrashed out.

''The varieties have been launched to the growers but still under trial agreements until we get the Apricot Co formalities sorted,'' Weaver said.