The Poteet Strawberry Grower of the Year for 2017 is Will Bates.
Though Bates hasnt grown strawberries for too many years, he has been an active part of the Strawberry Festival. His involvement began when he moved to the Poteet community in 1972 as a young Ag teacher. He, along with his FFA students participated in the judging and auction and growing to an extent.
A few years back he and his wife began growing strawberries around the house for his granddaughters to pick and nibble on. When his oldest granddaughter reached the age to join 4-H he encouraged her to have a strawberry project. His other two granddaughters soon joined in on the undertaking, thus the name Three Cousins Strawberry Patch. These new growers talked to more seasoned growers gathering advice and asking questions. They saw what was working and what wasnt. Soon, they were raising more berries and entered some flats into the festival and to their surprise, they placed.
Even though Bates doesnt have too much experience growing those berries, his community service for the fest through the years cement him as the 2017 Strawberry Grower of the Year.