By Tamas Mondovics

Wish Farms, one of the largest growers and shippers of strawberries in Florida, is hosting its Fourth Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge.

The competition is presented by the Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) supporting RCMA, a non-profit organization, founded in 1965, which now operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularly farm workers’ children RCMA operates 70 child-care centers and three charter schools, throughout the state including 18 in the Tampa Bay area.

According to event organizer, Amber Maloney, being active in the community has always been a focus of Wish Farms and the Wishnatzki family.

The first Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge was presented by Bright House Networks in February 2014, and has raised $75,000 for RCMA.

“Last year our event donated $78,000 to RCMA, and we are confident that this year will be just as successful,” Maloney said.

In the last three years the charity challenge has raised more than $228,000 for the children of RCMA.

This year’s event, which brings locals growers and the public together, sports a number of participating teams as they compete in a relay-style berry picking race is now scheduled for Saturday, February 11 at Futch Farms, 3536 Futch Loop in Plant City.

Maloney explained that the day will have something for everyone as it features events such as strawberry picking for children, a balloon artist, a face painter, games as well as live music.

Aside from the money it raises, Wish Farms owner, Gary Wishnatzki, put the family-friendly event’s purpose in perspective when he said, “By bringing this event to the farm, we hope to bring awareness and education to the hard work of our farm workers.”

As 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 as well as the picker.

Organizers emphasize that sponsorship opportunities at various levels are still available.

For details please contact Wish Farms Director of Marketing Amber Maloney, 758-9027 or amber@wishfarms.com.
For more information, visit www.wishfarms.com.