Poteet strawberry grower Stella Reyes, of Reyes Farm, FM 2504, captured this year’s Grand Champion title at the Poteet Strawberry Festival Auction on April 13. Her crate of strawberries set a record, selling for a grand total of $13,100.
A record was also set this year in the amount of total sales, $47,600.
The primary bids were Silver Eagle Distributors – Bud Light with $5,500; H-E-B with $1,000 and Schmidt Land Services with $1,000.
The other bidders that contributed were: Bartek Construction with $500, Poteet VFW with $500, Pure Party Ice with $500, Ramos Tire & Automotive Service with $500, Security Service Federal Credit Union with $500, Security State Bank with $500, South Texas Mud Haulers with $500, Tuttle Motor Co. with $500, Plestex Theatres with $334, Hurley Auto Parts with $333, Hurley Funeral Homes with $333, DSD Environmental with $300 and Poteet Country Winery with $300.
This is the first win for Mrs. Reyes. Her husband, Albert Reyes was last year’s Grand Champion winner.
The winning strawberries were of the Chandler variety. Chandler strawberries are high yielding, very large, brilliant red in color and have exceptional flavor.
This year the Reyes family also grew the Seascape and Albion varieties.
The Seascape strawberry plant produces very large firm fruit which have good color and flavor when picked ripe.
Albions have darker fruit color, both internally and externally, and a consistently sweeter flavor than most strawberries.
“The strawberries came along quickly because it was so warm,” said Mrs. Reyes. “It was a very hard year.”
She also expressed thanks to everyone that bid on the strawberries.
Jessica Cochrane received the Reserve Grand Champion title, with her Camarosa variety of strawberries. They sold for $5,300. The Camarosa strawberry plant is a larger and firmer fruit than Chandler with good flavor. It is heat tolerant and requires less chilling.
The bidders were: Silver Eagle Distributors – Bud Light with $2,000, DSD Environmental with $500, H-E-B with $500, Ramos Tire with $500, Tuttle Motor Co. with $500, Pure Party Ice with $300, Schmidt Land Services with $300, Security Service Federal Credit Union with $250, Security State Bank with $250 and American Electric Power with $200.
Poteet Strawberry Festival Association Vice-President Ron Mixon provided a rundown of the top overall buyers this year:
•Silver Eagle Distributors – $15,000
•H-E-B – $5,700
•Schmidt Land Services – $3,500
•Tuttle Motor Company – $2,800
•Ramos Tires – $2,500
•South Texas Mud Haulers – $2,200
•Security Service Federal Credit Union – $2,050
•Security State Bank – $1,450
•DSD Environmental- $1,400
•Pure Party Ice – $1,300
•Hurley Auto Parts- $1,233
•Hurley Funeral Homes – $1,233
•Poteet VFW – $1,200
•Bartek Construction – $1,100
•Poteet Lions Club – $1,050
•American Electric Power – $950
•Plestex Theatres – $934
•Eye Care For Texans – Dr. Ron Mixon, OD – $500
•Poteet Country Winery – $500
•Y – 5 Ranch – $500
•Bill Smith -$400
•Lois and Johnny Tymrak – $200
•Doris Thomas – $100
Prior to the auction, Poteet Rotary Club President Ed Geyer introduced a delegation from Mexico. The group holds a strawberry festival in Mexico and they were taken on a tour of the festival grounds in Poteet.
The Poteet Rotary Club also held a special plaque presentations for the families of the late Richard Reyes, who was this year’s Honorary Strawberry Grower of the Year and the late Bill Jenkins, former Poteet Strawberry Festival Association President. Both men will be remembered for their service to the community, the festival and their contributions to the agricultural industry.
Kyle Mikolajczyk, Grower of the Year, also received a plaque.
Strawberry grower Linda Wheeler received a plaque for the Biggest Strawberry Award. Her strawberry weighed in at 96.5 grams.