Loquat News – #6 – February

Feb 11, 2015 No Comments by

Florida Loquat News

No. 6

February 2015

Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit

An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event

Here is Your February issue of the Florida Loquat News

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/2015/01/loquat-newsletter-5-january-2015/

First Fruits

Harvesting Begins

Two-Year Olds Bear Sweet Fruit

The first fruits of the season should be ripe and ready for harvesting. Check your trees or those in your neighborhood for ripe fruit. Just last month, we noted the first blushing and a few ripe fruit at our grove, and we are now harvesting every day. So far, we have harvested several baskets of fruit from three trees in our grove – and we are just getting started.

We’ve included a few images of the first harvests.


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From now until the end of the season (in late April to early May) folks with trees should be able to enjoy fresh fruit.

If you have trees, check them now for your own first fruits.

We tasted the first fruits from our two-year old trees last week. Delicious! If you’ve been following the reports on our four young trees (about 2½ years old), you’ll remember we observed flowers and the first fruitlings late last year. We did not know if their flowers would yield fruit, but they did – after sprouting from seeds two and a half years ago. We can now report that those young trees have produced marvelous (“true”) fruit, which is sweet and firm – much earlier than we’ve been led to believe in literature on loquats.

One of the many benefits of the loquat is its long fruiting season, with fruit maturing over a four month period. Here at Friendship Farms & Fare, we harvest our first fruits in January and keep harvesting through April. Our trees still have flower clusters (covered with bees last week), tiny new fruitlings, immature fruit, and several clusters of the first ripe fruit of the season.

The distinctive yellowish-orange hue of the loquat fruit that is one of our first harbingers of spring.

Besides the abundant fruit appearing, the trees are now putting forth new growth. On your trees or those in your vicinity, look for radiant virescent leaves, soft and tender to the touch, with sharp tips pointing to the heavens. This is another way the loquat signals the approach of spring. 

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Florida Loquat Festival: Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit

April 4, 2015 – 2 Months Away! – 9:00 – 2:00

Market Off Main – 6214 Lincoln St, New Port Richey

April 4 is the date of the Loquat Festival. Mark your calendars, and join us for this one-of-a-kind event. In the meantime, please spread the word about Loquats and the event.

We are making good progress on the planning, and should have information cards available in the next week or so. If you know of locations where a small number of cards could be left, please let us know. We’ll share some with you.

Travis from the Nature Coast Real Food Network and a volunteer from Friendship Farms & Fare will be traveling to Brooksville on Monday (2/9) to tour a local loquat grove. We’ll share a short report on the visit in the next Farm Report, and look for a feature article on this grove in the Loquat News.

As for the festival itself, here are some details:

This is a “Loquat Exclusive” event, so everything being shared (for sale, contribution, or gift) will be a loquat or loquat-derived product. We will have seeds, seedlings, young plants, several large plants, fresh fruit, jellies, jams, and pies. No citrus here. We will also have lectures and educational events on planting, cultivating and harvesting; eating, preserving, and recipes; and the history and cultural context of loquats. This year, we will have loquat literary offerings (see below).

Second: If you have a loquat tree that volunteers can harvest for the festival, please let us know your location (and phone number); we’ll make arrangements for the harvest in season. Getting a “stable” of trees is very important to the festival.

Third: Volunteer opportunities. We are so thankful for the many folks who have stepped forward to volunteer at the festival. If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know. At present, our interest is in folks who could help with tree-spotting, and assisting with harvesting in advance of the event.

Fourth: This year’s festival program includes a session on loquat literature – “O! Loquat!” The program will present short literary offerings (poems, narratives, prose poems) about loquats or prominently featuring the fruit or tree. We’ll use an open mic format on the day of the event. We’re excited about this addition!  Here is a link to an announcement on the literary event: http://newsportrichey.org/2015/01/14/loquat-festival-seeks-literary-reading-submissions/

All readers are welcome! Official readings begin at 1:00, and will be limited to the first 20 readers who sign up at the festival. The readings must be no more than two minutes (about 300 words). Overflow readings are possible, after 2:00. To sign in, contact Wendy Buffington at the site when you arrive. With authors’ permission, readings may be included in future publications of Loquat News. Stay tuned, for more on this new addition to the festival. By the way, what rhymes with Loquat (besides Kumquat)?

“Tree Spotting” – Loquat Walking Tour

Sponsored by East Madison Grower’s Club

New Port Richey – February 15, 11:00 AM

Supporting this year’s festival is a neighborhood association in New Port Richey – the East Madison Grower’s Club (EMGC). The club is comprised of residents of the East Madison neighborhood of New Port Richey who have committed to improving the natural and cultural ecology of the community. In support of the festival, on February 15, EMGC is sponsoring a loquat walking tour of the neighborhood. Participants will learn to identify loquat trees, note their location, and notify residents of the Loquat Festival. If you would like to participate in the walking tour, contact us at Friendship Farms and Fare: friendshipfarmsfare@gmail.com or Ecology Florida: admin@ecologyflorida.org. 

A Brief Look Back at the Inaugural Festival

For new subscribers, here are a couple of stories about last year’s festival from in the local press (just click on the links):

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/2014/03/florida-loquat-festival-celebrating-floridas-urban-fruit/

http://tbo.com/Local/CommunityNews/festival-to-promote-little-known-loquat-tree-20140319/

If you would like a copy of the commemorative program for the inaugural event, send a request to Friendship Farms and Fare: friendshipfarmsfare@gmail.com or Ecology Florida: admin@ecologyflorida.org. Donations for the program will be received with thanks.

Trees for Sale

If you are interested in acquiring loquat trees, send us a message. We have small trees (seedlings in half-gallon pots), a number of medium trees (2-4 feet) and a several large trees (4-6 feet).

Join the Festival Team

We would be delighted to have more volunteers help us with this year’s festival. Let us know if you’d like to assist. We would also be most appreciative of financial gifts and sponsorships. The Florida Loquat Festival is organized and presented by Ecology Florida and Friendship Farms & Fare. These groups are 501 C 3 organizations, and donations are tax deductible.

We’d love to hear from you.

If you are interested in being a supporter or otherwise assisting in the mission of the Florida Loquat Festival, contact Friendship Farms & Fare: friendshipfarmsfare@gmail.com or Ecology Florida: admin@ecologyflorida.org.

Your interest and support of the Florida Loquat Festival is appreciated. We continue to add new subscribers, and we look forward to adding more in the weeks leading up to the festival. Please share this newsletter with others you know.

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Friendship Farms & Fare is a branch of Ecology Florida, a not-for-profit corporation. Contributions to Friendship Farms & Fare and Ecology Florida are tax deductible. To learn more about Ecology Florida, please visit the website:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations through our website (http://www.fffsite.org/#!report/c1tuh) or at our mailing address:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

friendship_farms

Friendship Farms & Fare affirms and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture

Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world

Ecology Florida, Inc. is a notforprofit organization, with 501(c)(3) designation. Contributions to Ecology Florida, Inc. are tax deductable under section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Ecology Florida is a registered charitable organization in the state of Florida. Registration number, CH 33333. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REIGSTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMEDNATION BY THE STATE.

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