5th Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge Raised Almost $100k for RCMA
5th Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge Winners Wish Farms

5th Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge Raised Almost $100k for RCMA


PLANT CITY, Fla. – The Strawberry Picking Challenge presented by Monte Package Company raised nearly $100,000. The fifth annual charity event’s proceeds will benefit children of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.

The fundraiser featured 21 corporate-sponsored teams competing in an exciting relay-style strawberry-picking race. Some of the crews represented were International Paper, Publix, Farm Credit of Central Florida, Amalie Oil, and ATP. Strawberry growers from around the state motivated competitors and coached the corporate teams through the picking challenge. One of the teams even featured Hillsborough County Sheriff deputies.

5th Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge Wish Farms

Ultimately, the AG Labor team, coached by Julio Cruz, was crowned 2018’s “Best Harvest Crew.” They are the newest recipients of the perpetual Strawberry Joe Trophy.

In addition to the sponsor picking challenge, local strawberry growers nominated their best harvesters to battle it out in a professional picking competition.  A total of $800 was awarded to the winner and runners-up.

The day-long event featured a charity u-pick open to the public and other family-friendly fun like a strawberry shortcake eating contest, balloon artists, games, music, and even a special appearance by the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court and N.R.G. “Next Radical Generation” singing group.

All proceeds from the Strawberry Picking Challenge will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a non-profit that operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularly farm workers’ children. Wish Farms is a long-time supporter of RCMA. Since the event began in 2014, the Strawberry Picking Challenge has donated a total of $423,000 to the children of RCMA.

“The Picking Challenge continues to grow year after year,” said Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Wish Farms. “The berries were big and sweet, and the turnout was our best yet. I love that our industry shares a close bond with the community. Bringing folks together to recognize our dedicated farmers and field workers, as well as RCMA’s unwavering commitment is what this day is all about.”

To watch the recap video of the 2017 Strawberry Picking Challenge, please click here.


About Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA):
Redlands Christian Migrant Association operates 66 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, blueberries and blackberries growing both conventional and organic varieties.  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 Monte Package Company:
Monte Package Company is a service oriented, direct distributor of agricultural containers and products for produce packers and growers throughout North America. Their state-of-the-art facilities located in Riverside, Michigan; Benton Harbor, Michigan; Lakeland, Florida; and Boynton Beach, Florida; combined with their national trucking contacts, shipping programs and highly skilled staff provide superior service and quality products coast to coast – on time, every time. For more information please visit www.montepkg.com.