Feb 23, 2017
Strawberry Picking Challenge raises over $100,000 for charity

The Florida Strawberry Growers Association’s Strawberry Picking Challenge raised more than $100,000. The fourth annual charity event’s proceeds will benefit children of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.

The fundraiser featured 20 corporate-sponsored teams competing in a relay-style strawberry picking race. Some of the crews represented were International Paper, Publix, Farm Credit of Central Florida, Amalie Oil, and ATP.  The Temp Labor team, coached by Hector Cruz Jr., was crowned 2017’s “Best Harvest Crew.” They are the newest recipients of the Strawberry Joe Trophy.

In addition to the amateur picking challenge, local strawberry growers nominated their best harvesters to battle it out in a picking competition for the pros. Misael Bautista, employee of Fancy Farms, received the highest judge’s score for speed and quality, winning a cash prize of $300.

The day-long event featured a charity u-pick open for the public to pick their own strawberries. Other activities included a strawberry shortcake eating contest, balloon artist, face painter, 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 nonprofit that operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularly farm workers’ children. Since the event began in 2014, the Strawberry Picking Challenge has donated a total of $250,000 to the children of RCMA.

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