Ben was described in the recent Australian Fruit Grower (AFG) magazine as a reluctant recipient, and as ‘uncomfortable’ with all this attention, and laughed openly when he was referred to as ‘a treasured living asset’ through his unique set of skills gained as a scientist, industry leader and apple grower.
However, his wife Geraldine set the record straight and expressed her delight that Ben has been commended for his life’s work in the sector. “He saw this vision and worked like bugger to get there,” she said about the commercialisation of the ANABP 01Avariety known as the Bravo ®branded apple.
“Ben has the visionary skills; he’s a logical thinker and he doesn’t bear animosity towards other people, able to rise above any criticism or negativity with a sense of humour, which is essential in this business.”
Ben stated in the recent Winter edition of AFG: “Our WA industry while very small and isolated is fortunate being the earliest innovators with regard to growing WA-bred apples.” He recognises the current challenges for the industry and sites the implementation of robotics in picking and packing and the importance of the measurement of profitability by the assessment of operations in and out of the orchard.
Nicole Giblett, on the other hand, told AFG that she was happy to collect this award on behalf of her team at Newton Orchards. She says that: “The key to marketing is to focus on quality above everything else.”
She also referred to good relationships with customers, with the understanding of the value of transparency and honesty in business.
While, as Nic states, this is not an individual award, Nic should be praised as she has been extremely pro-active on behalf of the industry, particularly in encouraging local workers to work in the produce industries during the pandemic. No mean feat, as many only came to the regions to get their hands on $ government incentives.
She claims that the adversity suffered has been a good lesson, and the experience has taught Newtons that it will never look as bleak again.
As now they have happily engaged with their Tongan and Vanuatu teams through the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme which has been a blessing for their business. She views ‘her people’ as their biggest asset, and teamwork is crucial.
Nic has a steady approach and is a ‘fixer of many things — like a firefighter’ in their business. However, she is always happy to support and advocate on behalf of the industry. She believes in the value of collaboration with others who share similar mindsets and growing practices. Nic, one of the future leaders, is very hopeful for the future of the industry.
On behalf of all our producers we say congratulations to both Ben and Nic for their ongoing service to our sector.