Strawberry growers throughout Atascosa County are preparing for this Saturday’s Poteet Strawberry Festival Sift on the festival grounds. While the Poteet Strawberry Festival will take place April 9-11, the berry sift on April 3 is a way of narrowing down the entries that will be chosen to return for the final judging and sale on Saturday, April 10.
“They mimicked the concept behind the Livestock Show Auction,” said Donovan Garcia, vicepresident of the Poteet Strawberry Growers Association and seven-year member of the Poteet Rotary Club. “The reason that that was done was to send only the best of the best competitors to the main event.”
He added, “They have a sift because the strawberries that are easier to grow are in overabundance. You’ve got 50 people trying to make an entry, so now we’re only taking the best ones,” said Garcia.
There will be five flats in each variety (class) chosen to return for the Strawberry Show and Judging on April 10.
It aids the Poteet Rotary Club by telling them exactly how many categories and varieties that they have of berries, as there are numerous varieties grown locally. This allows for the preprint of labels and blank itineraries without the information filled with the name of the farm. After the variety is filled, the Rotary Club will know how many entries and participants they have and it will also cut down the judging time.
“That means that the Grand Champion and the Reserve Champion get sold right off the bat at the top and ultimately, the people who place further down the list will get a chance to be brought up on the auction block a lot sooner,” said Garcia.
After last year’s judging, flats were sold on the grounds drive-through style, with the funds raised going right back to the farmers.
“Once the strawberries are at the show, the nonplacing entries become property of the Rotary. The Rotary took it upon themselves to have this drive-thru sale and they raised several thousand dollars. They donated it straight back to the farmers to help defray the cost of their plants,” said Garcia.
Ron Mixon of the Poteet Rotary Club said they plan to hold another drive-through sale this Saturday, but will not know the time until all the judging is complete. The time will depend on the number of entries.
Once the entire judging is complete (at the festival), a list of the placing entries will be made available on Facebook. The list will be emailed to buyers who have contacted the Poteet Rotary Club at firstname.lastname@example.org. Buyers will have time to respond with their intended contribution by April 16 at 6 p.m.
The Pleasanton Express will be there to cover the Strawberry Festival Show and Judging and will report on it via social media and print. Look for the three page color spread featuring all the Poteet Strawberry Growers in the April 7 edition, along with the Poteet Strawberry Festival special tab filled with details on the headliners, entertainment, food booths, exciting shows and more.