( Courtesy Wish Farms )

Berry grower Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., is the official grower sponsor of the 2019 Florida Blueberry Festival this week.

From March 28-31 in Kissimmee, blueberry lovers will celebrate the state’s crop at the Formosa Garden’s Event Center.

Wish Farms expects to pack about four million pounds of Florida blueberries this season, according to a news release. The company sees the festival as part of a marketing effort to elevate Florida blueberries as imports from Mexico increase, according to the release.

“We see this as a perfect alignment and an exciting opportunity to promote our brand and connect with consumers,” Amber Maloney, director of marketing at Wish Farms, said in the release. “We want our loyal berry lovers to partake in the domestic season kick off in our backyard.”

Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations, said Wish Farms has invested in varieties including Chickadee, Arcadia and Kestrel for flavor traits and being ready for harvest sooner to start the season earlier.

The festival in 2017 brought about 60,000 people to Brooksville, Fla., according to the release. The festival has relocated to Kissimmee and moved from May to March, expanded the days from two to four.

“This is a celebration of local blueberries, and having support from a substantial grower like Wish Farms is really going to take our event to the next level,” Michael Heard, president of the Florida Blueberry Festival, said in the release.

 
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