2024 Young Grower of the Year Zeke Zalsman
2024 Young Grower of the Year Zeke Zalsman from Zaldeesh Farm, Oldbury, Western Australia
2024 Young Grower of the Year Zeke Zalsman
2024 Young Grower of the Year Zeke Zalsman from Zaldeesh Farm, Oldbury, Western Australia

WA’s Zeke Zalsman wins Young Grower of the Year

An innovative young farmer with a passion for industry sustainability and consistently delivering a high-quality product to consumers has claimed the 2024 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year.

Announced at the Horticulture Awards for Excellence at Hort Connections in Melbourne, Zeke Zalsman from Oldbury, Western Australia, was recognised for his commitment to sustainability and a zest for innovation that has propelled him into new ventures.

Zeke is the second generation to be at the helm of his family’s business, Zaldeesh Farms, which specialises in the production of capsicums and eggplants, as well as growing pomegranates using wastewater from the greenhouses.

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2024 Nominees

Congratulations to all the 2024 nominees. Learn a little more about our next crop of Australian Growers and how they plan to grow the future of Australian horticulture.

Blake Reeve, Reeve Tasmania Pty Ltd, Tas

Blake Reeve

Blake is a second-generation orchardist growing apples and cherries in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, purchasing the farm from his father in 2020 and introducing new systems and technologies to improve decision making, orchard management, productivity and cost efficiency. With a number of extreme weather events in the past few years, Blake recognises the importance of the linkage between financial and environmental sustainability. He also is actively involved in the local industry, helping other young people pursue their dreams of a career in horticulture.

Clinton Crust, Mt Sylvia Fresh, Qld

Clinton Crust

Clinton is a third-generation farmer supplying ginger for the famous Bundaberg ginger beer. He has a dual degree in sustainable agriculture and agribusiness and has devoted himself to managing the family farm which supplies quality produce to domestic and international markets.

Daniel Quattrocchi, Monikas Organics, SA

Daniel Quattrocchi

In 1999, the eponymous Monika said to her son: “I need a business partner to start the farm. The banks are after me”. At the age of nine-and-a-half, Daniel replied: “Mum, I will be your business partner”. Twenty-five years later, Daniel is still working alongside his mum, but the roles are now reversed, with the son now a director of the company which supplies major supermarkets nationwide under the Monikas Organics label. Daniel also leads farm tours for school kids to help inspire the next generation of growers, emphasising a holistic approach to vegetable production and consumption.

Georgia Beattie, Bulla Mushrooms, Vic

Georgia Beattie

Georgia has the distinction of being the owner and CEO of Australia’s only organic mushroom farm, supplying Coles, Woolworths, Costco and independent grocers nationally. The company is vertically integrated with growing facilities across two sites and employing approximately 50 people. Georgia was responsible for a substantial turnaround in the business, turning a loss-making entity into an attractive investment opportunity for a multinational company. She is also a non-executive director of ACO Certification, Deputy Chairperson of the Australian Mushroom Growing Association and was a member of the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee of the National Farmers Federation from 2020-2023.

Jack Cafcakis - Cafcakis Nominees, SA

Jack Cafcakis - Cafcakis Nominees, SA

Jack works for leading greenhouse grower Cafcakis Nominees and is credited with being a major factor in the doubling of sales during his time at the family business. He has driven innovations such as a new solar and reverse osmosis system that has reduced costs by 70% and ensured water security. Jack is involved in various industry initiatives, such as contributing to industry policy responses to the recent Fruit Fly incursion and became one of the first growers to trial CA-33 and work through implementing this baiting program.

Jacob Jurgens, Vee Jay’s Kalfresh, Qld

Jacob Jurgens – Vee Jay’s Kalfresh, Qld

Jacob spearheaded a collaboration between Vee Jay’s Kalfresh, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hort Innovation and AUSVEG, to pioneer the adoption of light, automated field platforms. The machines are the first of their kind in Australia and demonstrate Jacob’s commitment to driving progress and embracing cutting-edge technology in the field. The fifth-generation grower works alongside his parents and sister at the family-owned business and is responsible for overseeing crop production, quality assurance and upholding their reputation as Certified Organic vegetable specialists. He also supports community initiatives to foster careers for young people in agriculture.

Jennifer Hulme, Hinkler Park Pty Ltd, Qld

Jennifer Hulme – Hinkler Park Pty Ltd, Qld

Starting her career in horticulture while also completing her degree in agriculture, plant science and production, Jennifer is quickly carving out her place in the industry. Since joining the world’s largest nut producer, Jennifer initiated work with Growcom, the project delivery arm of Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers, to demonstrate the farm’s best practice management and commitment to improving water quality in catchments that feed into the Great Barrier Reef. She is also actively engaged in the peak industry body for macadamias and has participated in the creation of industry publications to promote, educate and advocate for the industry.

Jeremy Trembath, Lonesome Duck Station, NT

Jeremy Trembath

Jeremy adopts a holistic approach to his enterprises in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, where grows vegetables and produces fresh cut flowers, eggs and beef cattle. He takes great pride in the quality of his soil, using livestock to fertilise the land that is later cultivated for vegetable production. The fresh produce is sold locally through the Fruit and Veg shop, Saturday community markets and Cooee Organics, keeping food miles to a minimum. Jeremy is also an active advocate for agriculture and the environment, serving on the Katherine Town Council and hosting a demonstration site for the Soil Wealth Integrated Crop Protection project, which is supported by Hort Innovation.

Lachlan Schreurs, Schreurs and Sons, Vic

Lachlan Schreurs – Schreurs and Sons, Vic

Over the past 11 years, Lachlan has led crucial aspects of production at Schreurs and Sons, from crop planning to post-harvest quality assurance. As Field Operations Manager, his hands-on approach and technical proficiency have achieved efficiencies across multiple locations, while a dedication to mentoring and industry development initiatives reflect his commitment to nurturing emerging talent. In 2024, Lachlan won the AUSVEG Vic Young Person in Horticulture Award.

Zeke Zalsman, Zaldeesh Farms, WA - WINNER

Zeke Zalsman – Zaldeesh Farms, WA

Zeke is a young grower who has taken the reins of his family farm in Oldbury, specialising in the medium-tech greenhouse production of capsicums and eggplants. He also grows pomegranates using the wastewater from the greenhouses. It’s this kind of commitment to sustainability and a zest for innovation that has propelled Zeke into new ventures. He is the first grower in the country to commercially adopt heat pump technology for greenhouse heating, cutting costs and increasing production and quality. Zeke has also championed the first Hort Innovation VegNET3.0 Innovation Fund project.

Young Grower of the Year

Corteva Agricience are proud sponsors of the annual Hort Innovations Young Grower of the Year award, highlighting the breadth of young horticulture talent in Australia. Meet the nominees and past participants.

Young grower of the year 2023


In 2023, Robert Arvier from West Pine Ag in Tasmania took out honours for Young Grower of the year. Read more about him and his worthy runners-up.

Meet the 2023 Nominees
Xavier Toohey 2021 winner

Past Nominees

Corteva has been a proud sponsor of the AUSVEG Young Grower of the Year award since 2018. See the long list of talented alumni who have vied for the prestigious title.

Meet Past Nominees