It's almost a relief but not time to count the chickens as Hawke's Bay's growing industry zeroes-in on the 12th annual National Horticultural Field Days at the showgrounds in Hastings next week.
Organised by showgrounds owner the Hawke's Bay A&P Society in conjunction with the growing sector the two-day event next Wednesday and Thursday, and affectionately known as the "Horti" field days, it is the only event of its type in the primary sector exclusively dedicated to horticulture, according to A&P chief executive Sally Jackson.
"Hawke's Bay alone accounts for two-thirds of all apple and pear outputs and this is one of the main reasons Hastings is home to this event," said Jackson, who like other event operators has had to work with ever-distinct risk amid the Covid-19 crisis which caused the cancellation of the Horticultural Field Days last year.
In that case it was soon after the end of the level 4 lockdown, but Jackson is ready for the challenges in the event of a sudden change, the latest Melbourne crisis highlighting the potential.
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This year it is with the benefit of experience, but the society is guided by the government authorities and advice from Events New Zealand as it strives to ensure the event itself isn't a risk, and, Kackson said, to handle any change if it's necessary.
The cancellation last year comes with some form of silver lining, with Jackson saying demanded for trade pace has increased and all other aspects seem to have helped grow the event, which started in 2008 as a Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association horticultural trade expo known as ICE (Innovation, Celebration and Education).
Among the late-mail is that New Zealand Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich, a 1999-2008 National Party List MP, will be a keynote speaker at a "Women in Hort" lunch, including the presentation of the Yarra Woman in Horticulture Scholarship.
Highlighting the growth of the industry will be a range of completion-based events, including the Ravensdown Innovation and Environment Award, and the Field Days also hosts the practical rounds of the Hawke's Bay Young Fruitgrower of the Year contest, which culminates with the speechmaking and announcements at a prizegiving dinner on the Friday night.
Other features, says event manager Kahlia Fryer, are the business to business networking, education and career development programmes and seminars, a secondary school educational programmes, an innovation zone, a large machinery demonstration zone, and more than 80 horticulture trade exhibits.