Wish Farms expands Florida strawberry farm acreage
Wish Farms, an international berry grower and marketer, is adding acreage to its Florida strawberry farm operation.
The purchase adds just over 800 acres of land, around 600 of which will be designated for farming. The remainder is natural wetlands, which will be left undisturbed for biodiversity and environmental sustainability.
Founded in 1987, G&D Farms was and will continue to be considered the largest contiguous strawberry farm in the world, according to a press release.
“This expansion is very exciting for our team. Not only is the land directly adjacent to our current farm, but we can immediately start farming organically,” farm manager Chris Parks said.
"The ground hasn’t been utilized for many years, so we can bypass the regulated waiting period. It gives us a lot of flexibility with rotation, ensuring that we are good stewards of the land,” he said.
Wish Farms is farming 55 acres of it this coming season, with plans to gradually increase usage.
While the farm is over 90 percent of the Sweet Sensation variety, several rows are dedicated to 100 new variety and seedling trials.
Around seven acres have been planted with a white strawberry variety, branded by Wish Farms as Pink-A-Boo Pineberries.
“I believe there will be strong demand for Pink-A-Boos in the coming years, and this land will allow us to expand that program without having to reduce our red strawberry acreage,” owner Gary Wishnatzki said.
G&D is working to reduce its usage of non-organic pesticides through techniques such as introducing pest predators.