The fundraising event, held on Saturday, February 6, featured 18 corporate-sponsored teams who competed in relays to earn the title of “Best Harvest Crew.” Some of the crews represented included United Way Suncoast, Monte Package Company, ATP Logistics, International Paper, Florida Strawberry Growers Association and Farm Credit of Central Florida. Strawberry growers from around the state were well represented at the event, providing picking instructions and serving as coaches.
Ultimately, the International Paper team, coached by Philip Stanaland of G&D Farms, was named the top finisher and was rewarded the ‘Strawberry Joe’ perpetual trophy. In addition to the amateur picking challenge, local strawberry growers nominated their best harvesters to compete in a pro-picking competition. Six professional strawberry harvesters participated. Javier Hernandez, employee of G&D Farms, received the highest judge’s score for quality winning a $300 cash prize.
In addition to the strawberry picking, the day-long event emceed by InfoMas reporter Melissa Zayas Moreno, featured family-friendly events such as a charity u-pick open to the public, a strawberry shortcake eating contest, balloon artist, face painter, games, DJ music provided by Host Entertainment Productions, and special appearances by the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court and N.R.G. “Next Radical Generation” singing group.
Proceeds from the Strawberry Picking Challenge will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a non-profit organization that operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularly farm workers’ children. Throughout the state, RCMA operates 70 child-care centers and three charter schools.
Wish Farms is a long-time supporter of RCMA. Since the event began in 2014, the Strawberry Picking Challenge has donated a total of $150,000 to the children of RCMA.
“We had a wonderful turnout this year despite the rainy weather,” said Gary Wishnatzki, Owner of Wish Farms. This fun, family event was well received by the community. We hope we succeeded in bringing awareness not only to the hard work of our farm workers but also to the outstanding contribution that RCMA makes.”
About Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA):
Redlands Christian Migrant Association operates 70 child-care centers for Florida’s rural poor, including 18 in the Tampa Bay area. RCMA also runs three charter schools, including two in Wimauma, in south Hillsborough County. Founded in 1965, RCMA has given thousands of children a vital boost toward success in school and life. For more information about RCMA please visit www.rcma.org.
About Wish Farms:
Wish Farms, founded in 1922 and third-generation owned, is one of the largest shippers of strawberries in Florida and has been for over 50 years. Nationally recognized for quality and innovation, Wish Farms is a year round supplier of strawberries and blueberries and seasonal in select vegetables. Wish Farms utilizes How’s My Picking?™, a patented tool for traceability to ensure quality by tying consumer feedback to the harvest time, field location, picker, etc. For more information about Wish Farms, please visit www.wishfarms.com.
About Bright House Networks:
Bright House Networks is the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the U.S. and the second largest in Florida with technologically advanced systems located in five states including Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California.
Bright House Networks serves approximately 2.5 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data, home security and automation and voice services. The company offers a portfolio of customizable, cutting-edge business solutions spanning Internet, MEF-certified Metro Ethernet, WiFi, security, telephony, and video. Bright House Media Strategies, the advertising arm of Bright House Networks, offers businesses advanced targeted advertising solutions. Bright House Networks also owns and operates exclusive local news and sports channels in its Florida markets. For more information about Bright House Networks or our products and services, visit brighthouse.com.