By Philippine News Agency
On Tuesday, a number of strawberry farmers in the valley town of La Trinidad, Benguet took time off from their usual chores in the farms to join in the biggest and sweetest strawberry competition.
There was not much fanfare, but it was a big day for the strawberry growers, especially the participants in the twin competitions.
Nida Organo, senior agriculturist of this town, said, “There is no strawberry festival without the strawberry farmers.”
Amid the mid-morning cool breeze, the competition for the biggest strawberry took place with nine farmers participating from various barangays.
Based on the competition rules, each participant had to select 10 berries from a basket and place these in a biodegradable container.
Judges then weighed each container and the competitor who had the heaviest basket won.
Efren Akelio, 25, of Barangay Poblacion Central, bagged the top prize, as his berries weighed 365 grams.far
On second place was Juna Dicang, 39, of Barangay Pico, with her entry weighing 335 grams.
Farmer Rustan Eulogio settled for the third spot with 330 grams of strawberries in tow.
For the sweetest strawberry competition, each participant would select 10 pieces of berries and place these in a blender to be served in cups for judging.
A refractometer, an instrument used for measuring sugar content, was used in determining the sweetest berries.
Farmer Danny Butilen emerged as the champion, recording a 9.76 percent sweetness. Johnny Sagibal followed closely with 9.70 percent, while Mencio Lab-isa settled for the third spot with 9.46 percent.
The top winners in each of the event received PHP3,000, while the second placers bagged PHP2,000 each, and the third placers brought home PHP1,500 cash each.
La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda led local officials in the awarding ceremonies.