By Michelle Colesanti

In the last two years, over $150,000 has been raised for the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) at the Bright House Networks Strawberry Picking Challenge, which is hosted by Wish Farms. RCMA is a non-profit providing quality childcare and early education for migrant farm and rural low income children.

The third annual Challenge will take place on Saturday, February 6 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Futch Farms, located at 3536 Futch Loop in Plant City with corporate teams competing for the title of Best Harvest Crew. Last year Monte Package Company claimed the title. About 20 corporate sponsor teams participate.

“By bringing this event to the strawberry farm, we hope to bring awareness and education to the hard work of our farm workers, while also making it a family-friendly event,” said Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Wish Farms.

The public is welcome to attend this free event with free parking. There will also be strawberry featured games and activities. Guests can take photos in front of the historic barn and antique tractors.

Purchase a BBQ lunch and then enjoy some strawberry shortcake. U-Pick strawberries will be available for $5 a quart. Food trucks and entertainment will also be onsite.

Corporate teams are welcome to enter the challenge. Each team will be made up of four contestants. The teams will be assigned a row and an expert coach. Contestants will each pick one 2 lb. package of strawberries and then return back to start and tag the next person on their team until they have completed picking a flat.

The final scores will be judged on the fastest flat picked, best looking flat and the cleanest row.

The highest scoring team from each group will move into the final round where the Best Harvest Crew will be chosen.

On the night before the Challenge (Friday, February 5), there will be A Kick-Off Dinner at TPepin’s Hospitality Center, 4121 N. 50th St. in Tampa. It will include cocktail hour from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and dinner and entertainment to follow at 7:30 p.m.

Many sponsorship opportunities are available. Gold Corporate Team Sponsor: $5,000, Silver Corporate Team Sponsor: $2,500, Tractor Sponsor: $1,500, and Row Sponsor: $500. Individual All-Access Ticket: $200. For more information on organizing a team or sponsorship, contact 752-5111, amber@wishfarms.com or visit www.wishfarms.com/spc.