POTEET, Texas – The Poteet Strawberry Festival is set to kick things off on Friday after last year’s celebration was cancelled due the pandemic.
Strawberry growers say it was a hard hit to endure, however, they’re hopeful this year’s sales at the festival will be enough to buy plants for the next harvest.
One of the biggest strawberry farms in Poteet also featured in the festival is KH Farm. The nearly four-acre farm is owned and ran by Ruth Anne Schultze and her husband.
The rows of bright red, juicy and sweet strawberries seem to be endless.
“There’s about 64,000 (strawberry) plants total in that four acres,” Schultze said.
The hard work to fill the pints of strawberries that will be sold during the three-day festival actually started shortly after last year’s festivities fell through.
“It’s one of those (jobs) that you have to be completely dedicated to,” Schultze said. “It starts out in September and October, and from that point, you know, you’re (working to keep) the plants alive and fertilize (them).”
For growers, the festival is their biggest event for revenue.
“We make at least half of our profit at the festival,” Schultze said.
With it’s cancellation, Schultze had to get creative to help the business and land she inherited from her father, Kenneth Hoffman, survive.
“(The cancellation) was a very big blow for all of (Poteet) farmers. It’s like we just didn’t know what to do,” Schultze said. “(But) because I have enough berries, I (was able to) go to wholesale places where they wanted large quantities. I could go to those places and sell them, but the smaller farmers may not have been able to do that.”
Schultze wasn’t clear on what this selling season would look like therefore she planted the 64,000 strawberry plants for her commercial sales in mind. The increase in plants have also been beneficial for KH Farm’s U-pick option that allows visitors to pick their own berries. At times now, Schultze said she can’t even keep up with the supply.
“We’re getting 65 (flats) in half a field (daily), you know, which is not normal,” Schultze said. Each flat holds 12 pints of strawberries.
It’s a sweet sign for Schultze as she’s hopeful the surplus of strawberries will sell out at the Poteet Strawberry Festival this year.
“I think we’ll probably see as many or more berries than we have in the past,” Schultze said.
Many strawberry varieties will be featured this weekend at the festival including the Camino Real and Merced strawberry, two of which KH Farm placed top five in. Schultze said it’s important for visitors to purchase strawberries inside the festival to ensure support for local farmers.
“You’re getting unique berries especially, and they were they are all picked ripe,” Schultze said. “You’re supporting a real local farmer who really needs to make it (so they) can plant again next year, so we can keep supporting staff as well, and keep supporting Poteet.”
Visitors can purchase strawberries from KH Farm Friday through Sunday next to the red pavilion on fair grounds.
For more information on KH Farm, click here.