Spring is in the air and that means strawberry picking time in Texas.
Nearly 100, 000 people from across the state are preparing to invade Poteet, long known as the Strawberry Capital of Texas, when the 67th Annual Poteet Strawberry Festival kicks off April 4-6.
But considering the extended winter this year, will there be enough berries to go around?
Cora Lamar grows famous Poteet strawberries on her Oak Hills Farm just outside of Poteet. Just coming off a successful spinach g season, she says because of late freezes and a consistently cold late winter, she is just beginning to get the first fruits off her strawberry plants.
“We’re off to a late start; around this time we’re normally in full swing, but our berries have frozen off twice this year due to the cold weather, putting us three weeks behind our regular schedule, ” she reported. “Obviously, I didn’t like the freezing temperatures, but what they wound up doing was to help prune the plants, so now what berries remain are a bit larger than they usually are.”
Larger, but not any less sweet. Lamar believes that as long as she lets them ripen on the plant long enough, then all her strawberries, despite their size or variety, are going to be equally sweet and flavorful.
“What makes the Poteet Strawberry so sweet is we wait until they’re good and ripe on the plant before we ship them, and because we don’t have a very large shipping radius, about 150 miles or so, we don’t have to worry about over ripening ruining the berries in the shipping process like larger growers do in states like California and Florida.”
Lamar mainly sells wholesale to Texas-based H.E.B. Food Stores’ distribution center in San Antonio and to other local distributors
Overall, Lamar says it looks like it could be a good year for strawberries, which means the Poteet Strawberry Festival won’t be any less crowded.
“It is absolutely unreal how many people go through the gate of this festival. This sleepy little town welcomes at least a 100, 000 people to the festival every year, ” she says. “Saturday and Sunday are without a doubt the biggest days of the Festival. Saturday is the grower's contest, which is judged around noon, and shortly after there is an auction where businesses from around the state bid on berries by the bulk."
She says the bidders especially bid heavily on the crowned grand champion berries at the festival. But a big crowd isn’t the only thing guaranteed by staging the annual festival. With such a limited supply of authentic Poteet strawberries available and a demand that exceeds the supply, by staging the annual festival, local growers can guarantee that every strawberry sold on the festival grounds is certified locally grown.
Airfare to Orlando is cheap
Compared to most places.
If you want to do the touristy things...theme parks and such it can get pricey. But there is a whole different world to Fl once you get off the beaten path - Jan we have a Manatee Festival...you hop on a little bus and they take people into the springs to see the wild manatees who come in for the warmer waters , The Zora Neal Hurtson fesival is coming up in the country's oldest established african american community , Plant City has the strawberry festival