Florida Loquat News #13 – December

Florida Loquat News

The Newsletter of The Florida Loquat Festival

No. 13

December 2015

Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit

An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event

Announcing the 2016 Florida Loquat Festival

March 26, 2016, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey

Mark Your Calendars

We are pleased to announce the date and location of this year’s Florida Loquat Festival.  Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state in New Port Richey on March 26.

As always, this is a Loquat Exclusive event. Only loquats and loquat-related products will be available.  Lectures, demonstrations, and educational sessions will be dedicated solely to loquats. The poetry salon at the event will also focus on loquats.  

If you are interested in loquats, this is the place to be. We are the only loquat festival in the state, and probably the only one in the nation.  Mark your calendars (electronic an traditional), tell your friends and family. Most of all, join us on March 26 for this one-of-a-kind celebration and learning festival.

Our nurseries will have seedlings, young trees, larger trees, and some very large trees.  Our harvesting teams will have fresh loquats of various varieties.  Local cottage food producers will have loquat preserves (jellies, jams, compotes, and preserves).  As always, we’ll give away loquat seeds to first 100 folks who show up – and more if possible.  

Beside loquat products, the festival will include educational presentations on seed starting and grafting, harvesting, and food production.  The popular loquat poetry salon will again be a feature of the festival, and this year’s keynote address will offer another consideration of the cultural context of the loquat.

If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know as soon as possible.  Our greatest desire is for volunteers to assist with harvesting the fruit – especially the week before the event.  We also welcome folks who will donate the harvest of their trees.

We are also looking for folks to prepare and sell preserves.  As many of you know, one of the traditions of the Loquat Festival is selling out of all the jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices.  That is a tradition we would like to bring to an end next year.  In order to do so, however, we’ll need more folks willing to make the preserves.  We cannot guarantee sales, but last year over 150 jars were sold in less than two hours.

Grower’s Update – Flowering Continues – Tiny Fruit Appearing – First Ripe Fruit

The 2015-2016 budding and flowering season continues, and tiny fruit can be observed on most trees. Here at our grove we observed our first ripe fruit – two bright orange nuggets on December 12.  This is the earliest we’ve ever had ripe fruit.

If you have trees, take a moment and check to see if they are flowering.  If not, check for buds (at the tips of branches).  Loquats bud and flower at different times – anywhere from late to spring to early winter.  They continue to bud and flower well into the winter.  Also, another wonderful gift of the loquat is that the fruit production cycle (flower, bud, fruitling, mature fruit) of a single tree is usually staggered, so that fruit clusters become mature over an extended period.  One of our mature trees (grandmother) currently has flowers, buds, fruitlings, and mature fruit. This means that this tree will be producing fruit well into the spring, if not the early summer.  

One of our subscribers sent images of her tree in Weeki Wachee.  We are including it here.  

Stay tuned for further updates, and please send us your stories and images.

Nine Fruit-Producing Trees at Friendship Farms

Since the last issue of Loquat News, we’ve had yet another young tree flower and develop fruitlings at the Friendship Farms loquat grove.  This brings our total to 9 fruit-producing trees. Aside from the old trees (grandmother and grandfather tree), which are over ten years old, all the trees are very young; and all began producing after less than four full years in a permanent location – most less than three.  Again, our trees are reaching maturity well before even the most generous time periods given in professional and popular literature.

Leaves of Loquat

The Poems of the 2nd Annual Loquat Festival

Leaves of Loquat is now in print!  This one-of-a-kind collection of loquat poems is most likely the only poetry publication dedicated entirely to loquats.

Leaves of Loquat is a community-created poetry chapbook celebrating the loquat, Florida’s urban fruit. Poets represented in the collection shared their work at last year’s festival, and many joined us in October for a public reading.  

Copies of Leaves of Loquat is available to the public for a suggested donation of $5.00.  All funds go to support The Florida Loquat Festival.  Copies may be ordered from Ecology Florida for $10.   Write to us at:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596 You can reach us by email at:



This collection is edited by Wendy Buffington and published through the support and energy of Ecology Florida.  

Here is another of the 2015 poems: Wendy Buffington’s  “Loquat’


Eriobotrya japonica


Small oblong sun, cousin to the peach,

your history reaches far to the East

to a star-kissed seed buried in rock

absorbing earth’s heat, your journey begun.


O, sweet-hearted one, what hand patted

your first ancestor into China’s black ground

beside lotus, plum, and cherry blossom?

Did it guide an ox down the mountainside


in Hunan Province past rice paddies

and tea fields, poppy cathedrals,

the miracle of God’s blazed golden valley?

Did it brush its knuckles against a child’s wet cheek?


Though long since returned to the land, loquat,

when I cradle your head, I touch that hand.


Subscribe to Loquat News and Tell a Friend

Go to the Ecology Florida website to sign up for Loquat News. If you know of others who might like to learn more about the loquat and our festival, send them the link.  

We publish Loquat News on a regular schedule – 6-8 times a year.  The News has updates on the festival and the seasonal progression of the trees.  We like to share reports from folks who are nurturing trees on their property.  From time to time we’ll feature growers, grove curators, nurseries, and preserve producers.  You might see an editorial from time to time, and even a little whimsy.

Here’s how to reach us and enter a subscription:



2015 Commemorative Brochure – $5.00

A number for folks have asked about acquiring a copy of the 2015 Festival Brochure.  If you would like to receive a copy, please send $6.00 ($5.00 + $1.00 postage and handling) to Ecology Florida.

The brochure is a wonderful commemoration of the festival and celebration of the loquat.  In it you’ll find loquat history, recipes, facts and data, tips on growing and harvesting, and a copy of the Loquat Day proclamation by the City of New Port Richey.  

If you want to share the festival and loquat lore with others, order additional copies. Discounts are offered for orders of 5 or more brochures. Contact us through the website for orders of multiple copies.

To order your copy, send $6.00 to:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

Loquat Archives

We are compiling a booklet with archival articles on the loquat in Florida.  The booklet will contain the two articles recently discovered by our researchers – Isabelle Krome’s 1936 article, “Louqats,” and John Popenone’s 1960 article “Evaluation of Loquats.”  We have releases on these articles.

We are also seeking release from Winthrop Packard’s reflection on loquats in his famous 1910 book, Florida Trails. As an additional feature, we are including Dell deChant’s essay, “The Loquat’s Cultural Context.”

We expect the booklet to be available later this year, with a suggested donation of $10.00.  Let us know if you’d be interested.

Commercial Potential of Loquats

We are convinced that there are real business opportunities available for enterprising folks who want to develop commercial ventures using loquats.   Our festival has shown us that there is a market for a wide range of loquat products – from fresh fruit during the season, trees year round, to pies and other pastries (including cookies!) – and of course, preserves of all varieties. Harvesters could also prosper during fruiting season, and growers and cultivators throughout the year.  

Loquats may be just the answer for some of the many folks who are looking for more sustainable endeavors, or just meaningful work.  There is no question that a market for loquats exist, and it is quite clear that as of now that market has hardly been developed. Let us know if you are planning to pursue the commercial potential of loquats.  We’ll publicize your endeavors, and feature your project at next year’s festival.

Support Opportunities Available

If you or your business would like to support next year’s festival, please let us know, and we’ll send you our supporter package.  You can contact us through the Ecology Florida website. If you leave a phone number, we’ll give you a call.  



Thank You

Your interest and support of loquats and the Florida Loquat Festival is appreciated. Thanks for being part of our mission to increase awareness, appreciation, and use of “Florida’s Urban Fruit.”

Please share this newsletter with others you know.  For information on supporting our work, see the contact addresses and link earlier in the newsletter, and below.

See you at the 2106 festival:  

March 26 2016

9:00 – 2:00

Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey


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/

Friendship Farms & Fare website is http://www.fffsite.org/

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

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

friendship_farmsEcology Florida Logo

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 not-for-profit organization, with 501(c)(3) designation. Contributions to Ecology Florida, Inc. are tax deductable under section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code.