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New roles, new faces in the Fruitfed Supplies team

New roles, new faces in the Fruitfed Supplies team

New roles, new faces in the Fruitfed Supplies team

Several changes have taken place within the Fruitfed Supplies team in recent months, including Patsy Matthews’ move from Levin to Gisborne where she’s now the Area Sales Manager (ASM).

Originally from the Gisborne region, Patsy started with the company as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) in Gisborne in 2018. The following year, she headed to Levin in the Store Manager’s role. Patsy’s enjoyment of working more directly with growers saw her appointed as the region’s Technical Horticultural Representative (THR) in 2021.

“Taking on the Gisborne management role is largely about helping build and offer support to our team here,” says Patsy. “It was a big move for me and my husband, and I’m grateful we were here just before Cyclone Gabrielle hit. It meant a lot to me to be able to provide clear direction and support for staff who did an incredible job supporting our growers during that period. Of our 18 full-time staff, only four could get to work for the first four days. With no communications either, it was incredibly challenging. We’ve had more heavy rainfall events recently and are still coping with the ongoing impact of roading issues.”

Replacing Patsy in Levin is Chelsea Hudson, who joins Fruitfed Supplies following several years with Ballance Agri-Nutrients in Marlborough and Manawatu. She’s enjoying the opportunity to get to know new growers and learn about their businesses.

“I’ve been able to see various farming systems with Ballance in different regions, and now I get to learn more about vegetable production in Horowhenua,” says Chelsea who grew up in Kapiti and studied agricultural science at Massey University. “I’m able to bring solid nutrition knowledge for a range of crops to this THR role and now I’m soaking up knowledge on crop protection practices, particularly for vegetable crops.”

Long-time and much respected Northland ASM Mark Robinson retired at the end of June. Current Helensville ASM Craig Lamb is expanding his management skills to look after Northland as well.

“We have a great team based in Kerikeri and another great team in Helensville, so together we’ll make this work well,” says Craig whose been with Fruitfed Supplies for 22 years. “For me, it felt like a natural progression. I like to help other stores and share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years. The crops grown in the two regions are similar, mainly avocados, citrus and kiwifruit, and I bring an indepth knowledge of strawberries too. The transition as Mark left has gone smoothly and now we’ve welcomed Louise Shepherd to our Kerikeri team as a new THR.”

Born and bred in Northland, Louise’s family have a Hereford stud near Kaeo. With a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in soil science and nutrient management from Massey University, Louise joined PGG Wrightson in Northland as a CSR straight out of university. She then joined a fertiliser business and worked with orchardists across Northland.

“Now I’m enjoying brushing up on my horticultural knowledge,” says Louise. “I like the variation with the many different crops we deal with in Kerikeri and we’ve got a great team here to work with.”