Florida Loquat News #27 – January 2018

Jan 18, 2018 No Comments by

Florida Loquat News

The Newsletter of The Florida Loquat Festival No. 27

January 18, 2017

2018 Florida Loquat Festival

March 24, 2018 – 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey

Friends, Supporters, and Patrons at the 2017 Florida Loquat Festival

Mark Your Calendars

The 2018 Florida Loquat Festival will be Saturday March 24. Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey.  This is an early date for the Festival – and  only two months from now, so make your travel plans now.

Here are a couple of great stories about last year’s festival:

http://www.tampabay.com/features/homeandgarden/diggin-florida-dirt-florida-loquat-festival-celebrates-a-fruit-tree-worthy/2315282

http://newsportrichey.org/2017/04/25/hundreds-visitors-flock-4th-annual-florida-loquat-festival/

See more details on this year’s festival later in this issue of Loquat News

The 2018 Loquat Festival will be March 24, 2018 (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) at Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey Florida.  The program will be 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Loquat Poetry will again be featured, and this year cash prizes will be awarded for the top three poems in two categories: Professional and Non-Professional.

Sponsorship of Leaves of Loquat and the Loquat Poetry Festival is welcome.  Contact Ecology Florida for details on sponsorship. 
Join us for this important cultural moment in New Port Richey and the entire loquat world!

Growers and Industry Update

Cold Temperatures Should Not Damage Crop

Loquat growers and those involved in the loquat food-production industry are alerted that cold temperatures in the early winter may impact the 2018 loquat harvest – especially north of New Port Richey.

The hardy trees can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees.  Fruit and flowers, however, are damaged at 27 degrees.  Some trees will be hardier than others, and their fruit may survive temperatures below 27 degrees.

We are early in the fruiting season and trees around central Florida are covered with flowers, fruitlings, and young fruit, so the low temperatures may cause damage.  Impact will vary depending on your area and any nuances in the micro-climate of your location.

Growers should irrigate their trees prior to freezes. Water the base of the tree, soaking the soil.

At Friendship Farms and East Madison Groves, our trees have more fruitlings than in any previous year.  The volume is remarkable.  If we can avoid getting to 27 degrees, over the next month or so, we should have an abundant harvest.

The latest date for a freeze in our area is March 3.

If you are a grower or a canner or use loquats in your food production activities, be advised: The first major harvests of fruit will likely occur in mid-February.

If you have trees, take a moment and check to see if their fruit has been damaged.  You’ll have nothing to worry about if you have not had a freeze; and little to worry about unless you’ve had a freeze of 27 degrees or less.  

Check for buds (at the tips of branches), fruitlings, and fruit.  In some areas, there should be fruit ready for harvest already. Loquats bud and flower at different times – anywhere from late to spring to early fall.  They continue to bud and flower well into the fall.   

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

The Florida Loquat Festival’s 5th Anniversary

March 24, 2018

News, New Features, and Opportunity to Participate

This year’s Florida Loquat Festival will be March 24, 2018 (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey Florida.  The program will be 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Check out Frances Avenue Park Here!

There are new additions planned for 2018.  Here are some of the details, as of October.

Volunteers Welcomed If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know as soon as possible.

Harvesters and Harvest Donors Our greatest desire will be for volunteers to assist with harvesting the fruit – especially the week before the event.  Fruiting was early and the festival was late last year, and we have very little fruit for the festival.  We are working to have plenty of fruit this year, so we’ll look for volunteers to step forward to assist. We also welcome folks who will donate the harvest of their trees.  See contact information, below, or email, Sylvia Spencer: gardenmaiden13@gmail.com

Canners Sought 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 in 2018. Every year there are more preserves than the previous year, and every year all are sold before the festival is over – last year nearly 600 jars were sold long before the festival concluded!  

Needless to say, this is a great way to supplement one’s income.  In fact, for those who are diligent, a considerable amount of money can be made.  

Poets and Writers Called  2018 will mark the third year of the Florida Loquat Literary Festival, and there will be some new elements – including prizes. Here is the official call, from Ryan Chen, coordinator for the literary festival:
The Florida Loquat Festival is seeking one-page poetry or prose submissions for a reading held at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey, Florida on March 24, 2018. We welcome all styles and forms as long as loquats are the subject or central image. Submissions are open to all writers and not restricted to professional poets.

We encourage and welcome submissions from anyone who wishes to participate. There will be a prize packages awarded to first ($100), second ($50), and third place ($25) in both the professional and non-professional category, which will also include a t-shirt and other small complimentary favors such as loquat jam.

 Accepted submissions will be invited to read at the event in beautiful Frances Avenue Park and will be published in the annual chapbook, Leaves of Loquat, which will be presented in the fall during a public event. Lastly, any time remaining after the reading will be open to the public for an open mic where all ages and levels of experience are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

Writers can submit up to three poems. If making more than one submission, please send all materials in a single document. Include a brief cover letter/bio sharing your writing experience/publications, if any, to chengr@mail.usf.edu. Accepted submissions will be notified upon acceptance.

Literary Festival Sponsors If you are interested in sponsoring the literary festival, contact us at the Ecology Florida web address for details:  

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

Live Music The 2018 festival will include live music. Planners are close to making a decision on the talent.  Watch for more information in the next issue of the News.

As Always The festival will include lectures on growing, harvesting, and preparing loquats.  Known and unknown specialists will present on the ways and wonders of our celebrated fruit. Various types of trees will be available from local groves and nurseries. If weather, our changing climate, our local trees, and The Great Mother are in harmony with our schedule, we will have plenty of fresh loquats. We will certainly have all manner of canned loquats: jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices.

Hart Family Farm Reports First-Time Flowers

The Hart Family Farm, which is adjacent to the 3F domestic farm, had flowers on their loquat tree for the first this year. It will fruit for the 2018 harvest.  The tree was planted two years ago.  This quick maturity is consistent with other seed-grown loquat from the 3F groves.

Hard Copy of the News

SD $5.00

Several folks have asked about acquiring hardcopies of Florida Loquat News. We usually do a run of 100 copies for promotional purposes. They go quickly.  

If you would like to sponsor the publication, please let us know. Contact us at the Ecology Florida web address for details:  

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

If you desire individual copies, contact us through the website. Suggested donation is $5.00, and we’ll send it to your mailing address.  To order your copy and send donation, use our mailing address:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

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.

Pete Kanaris of Green Dreams discusses loquat varieties with patrons at the 2017 Festival.  Pete will have 100s of cultivars at this year’s festival

Live Music

The 2018 festival will include live music. Planners are close to making a decision on the talent.  Watch for more information in the next issue of the News.

Florida Produce Art Show Perhaps the most exciting new feature for the 2018 festival will be the first-ever Florida Produce Art Show.  Plans are largely complete for the show, which will be restricted to works of art with Florida produce as the theme.  All media will be accepted, except for film and video.  Prizes will be awarded, with type and range to be released soon.

We are looking for sponsors and supporters of the First Florida Produce Art Show.

Show Sponsors If you are interested in sponsoring the art show, contact us at the Ecology Florida web address for details:  

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

Artists’ Contact If you are an artist and want to receive information on the show, contact Marilynn deChant:

mdechant@tampabay.rr.com

As Always The festival will include lectures on growing, harvesting, and preparing loquats.  Known and unknown specialists will present on the ways and wonders of our celebrated fruit. Various types of trees will be available from local groves and nurseries. If weather, our changing climate, our local trees, and The Great Mother are in harmony with our schedule, we will have plenty of fresh loquats. We will certainly have all manner of canned loquats: jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices. 

Subscribe to Loquat News and Tell a Friend

News about loquats is starting to circulate. To keep up with what’s going on, subscribe to Loquat News, the only publication dedicated exclusively to Loquats – Florida’s Urban Fruit!  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 three to five times a year.  The News has updates on the seasonal progression of the trees, and planning for the festival.  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:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

Loquat Archives – Sponsor Sought

We have compiled a booklet with archival articles on the loquat in Florida.  The booklet will contain the two articles 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 will go to press on this publication as soon as we have a sponsor.  If you would like to sponsor the publication, please let us know. Contact us at the Ecology Florida web address for details:  

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

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.  

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

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.

Did you find this information helpful? If you did, consider donating.

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