Wish Farms Strawberry Picking Challenge Raises Nearly $75K For Charity

The Inaugural Bright House Networks Strawberry Picking Challenge, hosted by Wish Farms raised approximately $75,000 for Redlands Christian Migrant Association.

The fundraising event, held on Saturday February 8, featured 20 corporate-sponsored teams who competed in relays to earn the title of “Best Harvest Crew.” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam led the Fresh from Florida team. Other crews represented Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Monte Package Company, Patterson Companies, 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 Ed & Barbara Bergmann Team, coached by Donnie Randall of Fancy Farms, was named the top finisher and recognized for their picking prowess with individual strawberry trophies as well as the coveted ‘Strawberry Joe’ perpetual trophy.

(L-R) Coach Donnie Randall of Fancy Farms; Wish Farms owner, Gary Wishnatzki; Christel Yaffe; Amanda Lia; Shelley Chalmers; Bay News 9 anchor, Veronica Cintron; Kenneth Parker of Florida Farm Bureau.

(L-R) Coach Donnie Randall of Fancy Farms; Wish Farms owner, Gary Wishnatzki; Christel Yaffe; Amanda Lia; Shelley Chalmers; Bay News 9 anchor, Veronica Cintron; Kenneth Parker of Florida Farm Bureau.

In addition to the strawberry picking, the day-long event emceed by Bay News 9 TV anchor Veronica Cintron, featured family-friendly events such as strawberry picking for children, a balloon artist, games, music and activities with Radio Disney, and special appearances by the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders and Wish Farms’ Misty the Garden Pixie.

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 of charter schools.

Wish Farms is a long-time supporter of RCMA. For the past eight years, Wish Farms has staged an annual tennis tournament to support RCMA and other non-profit organizations that help educate the children of migrant farm workers.

“This fun, family event was a great success,” says Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Wish Farms.  “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.”

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