Following rocky season, strawberry grower to sell farm in Plant City

Wish Farms will focus on operation in Manatee Co.

PLANT CITY, Fla. - The rough and rocky season last year for strawberry growers has forced some to make changes.

Wish Farms announced its abandoning its 200 acres of strawberry fields separated in chunks throughout Plant City.

The 90-year-old company instead plans to focus on its strawberry operation in Manatee County, where the fields are all in one centralized area.

"After this season, when things don't go as well as you would like, it gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate everything," said Gary Wishnatzki, Owner of Wish Farms.

The hot winter produced an over-abundance of berries in the region. That, combined with increased competition from California and Mexico drove prices into the ground for growers this year.

"It was a very difficult year to make money," said Ted Campbell with the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. "The oversupply situation in the warm winter probably was more catastrophic economically than a light freeze would have been."

While Wish Farms is selling its fields in Plant City, it insists the name and brand will not go away.

The company will continue to market more than a thousand acres of berries for other growers in Plant City and will keep its main offices in town.

"Wish Farms is here to stay," Wishnatzki said.

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