Growing up in Northern California, I have always had a love for farming and agriculture. My childhood home was a short drive away from the farming towns of Castroville (artichokes), Gilroy (garlic), Salinas (lettuce) and Watsonville (strawberries). As a child, some of my earliest memories were of going to the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival and passing by all the fresh produce fields on the drive from San Jose to Gilroy.
Since living in Tampa, I have always wanted to visit some of the local farms and finally had the opportunity last weekend. I was invited to attend a charity “u-pick” strawberry event at Wish Farms in the town of Duette, which is about 57 miles from my home. Wish Farms has been delivering quality produce since 1922 and has grown to become a national produce marketer. Not only are they a year-round strawberry grower, they also supply blueberries and market vegetables throughout the year. It was the perfect opportunity to take my kids along on an adventure and teach them a little about farming and agriculture. We headed out to Duette and enjoyed some of the beautiful scenery along the drive.
As we passed through Wimauma, on the drive to Duette, I was enticed by the numerous amounts of authentic Mexican taquerias along State Road 674. I spotted a small trailer painted with fresh fruit that said “Coctel de Fruta” and just had to stop. It had been awhile since I last enjoyed a Mexican fruit cocktail and had been craving one.
If you are not familiar, an authentic “coctel de fruta” consists of exotic fresh fruits and vegetables that are topped with fresh lime juice, salt and chile. Truly refreshing with a nice kick, it is the perfect treat on a warm day. I used to eat these all the time back home, as I would often get them from street vendors in the Mexican neighborhoods of my hometown. Since moving to Tampa, I have truly missed these and now I all have to do is head to Wimauma. 🙂 If you have not had one, you do not know what you are missing!
After our brief stop in Wimauma, we got back in the car and headed to our destination. Thirty minutes later we arrived at Wish Farms and were welcomed by the sounds of birds chirping and a nice breeze on this beautiful spring day. It was a picture perfect setting and we were ready for adventure.
As we drove into the farm and headed to the strawberry picking area, I was captivated by the gorgeous scenery and beautiful blue sky. It was as if the sky was welcoming us into the farm. My daughter even said that we needed to “follow the line of clouds to the strawberries.” 🙂
My kids were anxious to start picking strawberries and were telling me all the things they wanted to make such as strawberry shortcake and fruit salad. It doesn’t get much cuter than that folks!
I was honored to participate in the special event taking place on this particular day at Wish Farms. It was the 2013 Charity Strawberry U-Pick and proceeds were being donated to Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA). I was delighted to learn that RCMA provides quality childcare and early education for children of migrant farm workers and rural, low-income families throughout Florida. I had never heard of RCMA until this event and happy to be a part of helping out this great organization. The kids and I received a flat filled with empty baskets and began our afternoon of strawberry picking.
Not only was this their first time picking strawberries, it was mine as well and I felt like a kid again! It was so fun to search through all the fresh strawberries and pick the best ones.
My kids were having a blast and could not stop smiling. They were having a contest to see who could pick the biggest strawberries.
The strawberries were so juicy and fresh that we were eating them as soon as we picked them. Truly, there is no better way to enjoy a strawberry!
My daughter was really getting the hang of it and picked some beautiful strawberries. I was quite impressed at how well she did for only being four years old.
“One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
After spending a few hours at the beautiful farm, we took our flat of luscious berries and headed back to the car. I am so glad we took the time to make the drive to Wish Farms. Our day was spent making beautiful memories and my children learned so much about farming and agriculture.
Thank you Wish Farms!
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