Plant City digest: Strawberry farming pioneer dies at 96

Published May 23 2013


Strawberry farm pioneer dies at 96

Lester Wishnatzki, a former executive of the company that came to be known as Wish Farms, died Sunday in Lakeland where he lived. He was 96. Mr. Wishnatzki, along with his brother Joe, served as co-president, taking over the family business in 1955. The two were pioneers in the use of mechanical refrigeration to cool packinghouses and trucks and worked to create a market for strawberries in the Northeast. Begun in 1922 by Brooklyn, N.Y., pushcart vendors Harris Wishnatzki and Daniel Nathel, the Wishnatzki and Nathel families split the company in 2001, and in 2010 the Wish Farms brand was launched. Mr. Wishnatzki was the uncle of Wish Farms owner Gary Wishnatzki. Funeral services were held Wednesday at Temple Emanuel in Lakeland.

Plant City

'Brooks Circle' named for retiree

Eddie C. Brooks, the longtime city employee and first supervisor of what became known as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, will be honored today when the city names the drive that surrounds the center as the Eddie C. Brooks Circle. The ceremony is set for 11 a.m. at the center, 1601 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A fixture there, Mr. Brooks was instrumental in bringing girls softball to Plant City. He retired from the city in 2008 after 46 years.

Hospice looking for volunteers

LifePath Hospice is seeking volunteers for Plant City. Call Vicki McDonald at (813) 984-2299.