Deena Franklin

On Orchard / Quality Manager – T&G Fresh

School: Westlake Girls High School

Training Institute: Master of Food Technology, Massey University

Current Employment: Quality Manager – T&G Fresh

Growing up in the city, I wasn’t exposed to horticulture until later on in my university studies. I always had enjoyed science and technology so after school I decided to study biotechnology at the University of Auckland. This is where my curiosity for plants and growing was ignited. Although it wasn’t until I started my Masters in Food Technology that I found my passion for horticulture, where I researched the effects of postharvest storage conditions on blueberries – it amazed me how so many factors such as growing conditions to postharvest and supply chain can all affect the final customers quality perception of fresh fruit and vegetables.

After graduating I landed a fantastic role on the graduate programme at T&G, where I spent my time in the Covered Crops Technical Team where I got to learn about growing and postharvest operations. A big part of this role was running trials to ensure we were constantly innovating. I am now the Quality Manager at T&G Fresh where I am responsible for delivering high quality fresh fruit and vegetables to our customers. I love the fact no day is the same, one day you might be out in the field, and the next in a packhouse or at your desk.

There are so many diverse opportunities and pathways in this industry to those who seek them out. Always say yes to opportunities and give it a go, people are always willing to help. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up, you will undoubtedly be greatly rewarded. Horticulture is a fantastic industry.