10 Tampa Bay Anchor Courtney Robinson visits the Wish Farms Plant City headquarters during the height of Florida strawberry season. Early March is a busy time in Plant City, The Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, between strawberry harvesting and the annual Florida Strawberry Festival. The festival was first held in 1930 to celebrate the community’s harvest, but has grown over time to includes rides, concerts, and of course strawberry treats. Wish Farms has been a sponsor of the Strawberry Festival, and more specifically the Soundstage bringing headlining acts to the city, for over 10 years.
Owner and Head Pixie, Gary Wishnatzki gives Courtney Robinson and 10 Tampa Bay a tour of the company headquarters as they discuss the history of the century-old business and the future of the berry industry. The building’s whimsical aesthetic is a reflection of the company’s brand and mascot – Misty the Garden Pixie. The third generation owner, Gary considers the new campus his legacy, as he reflects on the company his grandfather began as an immigrant in New York City back in 1922.
Gary attributes the company’s growth and success to its employees and he strives to live by his father’s lessons in treating people with kindness and respect. Another contributing factor to the company’s success is its focus on innovation. This is largely demonstrated by Gary’s involvement in Harvest CROO – an agriculture technology company working to solve the labor crisis with robotic harvesters.