Victorian vegetable growers have won an impressive four awards at the 2012 AUSVEG National Awards for excellence in Hobart tonight including the highly contested Grower of the Year.

The Syngenta Grower of the Year Award was presented to Mr Frank Ruffo, Managing Director of Tripod Farmers from Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.

AUSVEG Chairman, John Brent, congratulated all the Victorian award winners, noting that AUSVEG had received a record number of nominations across all award categories this year.

“Frank Ruffo is well deserving of this esteemed award. Australia has some of the best growers in the world, so to be considered the best by your peers is certainly an achievement to be very proud of,” said Mr Brent.

Several other Awards for Excellence were also won by Victorian growers and companies bringing their total number of Awards won to four.

Tina Lamattina from the Lamattina Group won the Women in Horticulture Award supported by Steritech.

Fibre board manufacturer VISY was awarded the Productivity Partner Award supported by Elders.

100% Australian food supplier, AUSSIE Farmers Direct was also presented with the Innovative Marketing Award supported by the Central Markets Association of Australia.

The 2012 AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner was held at Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Hobart on Saturday 12 May, which honoured growers and other members of the Australian vegetable and potato industries for outstanding achievements in their field.

AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing the interests of approximately 9,000 vegetable and potato growers around Australia.

Women in Horticulture Award winner, Tina Lamattina, was recognised for her significant contribution to the Lamattina group.

“Tina Lamattina has been highly successful in handling the administrative, accounting, quality assurance and environmental aspects of the Lamattina group, which produces approximately a million tonnes of fresh produce each year. Tina has done a remarkable job in these often challenging areas,” said Mr Brent.

The Productivity Partner Award was presented to fibre packaging company, VISY, for developing products that are benefiting the industry across the supply chain.

“VISY has been developing some innovative products and services that are helping to increase the efficiency of many Australian vegetable and potato operations,” said Mr Brent.

Victorian based home delivery food business, Aussie Farmers Direct, took out the Innovative Marketing Award, for their promotion of Australian grown produce.

“At a time when many retailers are opting to source foreign grown produce, it’s refreshing to see a company like Aussie Farmers Direct promoting 100% locally grown produce,” said Mr Brent.

The AUSVEG National Convention had more than 800 delegates in attendance making it one of the biggest events in horticulture ever held.

For official photos of the awards please contact the AUSVEG media contact below.

William Churchill, Communications and Public Affairs Manager Ph: (03) 9822 0388, Mob: 0411 166 748, Email: