(CORRECTED): PLANT CITY, Fla. — An auction of fresh Florida strawberries raised scholarship money for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.

Florida strawberry growers raise scholarship money at festivalDuring the Florida Strawberry Festival, Feb. 28-March 10, the Dover-based association raised $15,500 by auctioning flats entered by growers.

The flat fetching the highest bid was packed by Mike Lott, owner of Seffner-based Mike Lott Farms, which markets fruit through Bradenton-based C&D Fruit & Vegetable Co. Inc.

Four buyers contributed $5,200 to the flat.

Other flats fetching high prices came from:

  • Sewell Farms LLC, marketed by Westlake-Miller, Brooks & Sims Inc., Los Angeles, which sold for $3,000; and
  • Wish Farms grower E.W. Simmons Farm, which sold a flat for $2,100.

In other news, the association is celebrating attracting 4,000 Facebook fans by offering a $50 gift card and a copy of the group’s latest recipe book in a gift bag for people posting strawberry photos to its Facebook page.

Runner-up winners can win the cook book and gift bag, according to a news release.

The contest ends Midnight on March 14.

Ted Campbell, association executive director, said he answered many consumer questions about strawberries at the group’s festival exhibit, which featured an active strawberry field.

“They connect the dots and that’s what’s really important in talking with people,” Campbell said. “They don’t know the science behind it and need to know it’s not easy to bring food out of the dirt.”

(Note on correction: This story originally incorrectly stated the purchasers of the winning flats in the fourth through seventh paragraphs).