Florida Loquat News
May 21, 2015
Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event
Here is Your Post-Festival issue of the Florida Loquat News
Florida Loquat Festival: Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
Loquat Festival Draws Large Crowd
Education, Economic, and Cultural Impact Significant
The annual Florida Loquat Festival was a big success. Estimates are that over 400 persons attended the April 4 event, and judging from sales, that number seems accurate. Over 150 jars of preserves were sold, and over 300 pounds of fresh fruit. Green Plan Tree Farm sold over 200 trees. The educational program was very well attended and the poetry festival stole the show.
In addition to the poetry event, this year’s festival featured loquat cookies, halves in light syrup, attendance by the mayor of New Port Richey and one of the council members, and proclamation from the city declaring April 4, Loquat Day in the city. We had a number of folks from outside the area join us, with confirmed visitors from Sarasota, Brooksville, Tampa, Gulfport, and St. Petersburg. Recent immigrants from South Asia, Central Asia, and Europe also attended.
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:
Thanks To Supporters and Volunteers
Every year, we are so thankful for the support of the community and the many businesses in the area who participate. We could not do the festival without this support. In this spirit, we are happy to share sincerest thanks with these groups and individuals (with note of their role in the festival):
The Market Off Main – Host
Ecology Florida – Co-Founder
Friendship Farms & Fare – Co-Founder
Black Cat Growers – Featured Cottage Industry and Participant
deChant Public Relations – Media Relations
NewsPortRichey – Promoter
Rock the Boat Productions – Promoter
USF Food Activists Revolutionizing Meals – Volunteers
Green Plan Tree Farms – Featured Nursery
City of New Port Richey – Municipal Host and Resolution Provider
Nature Coast Real Food Project – Featured Harvesters and Seller
Cadle’s Cove Farms – Friends of the Loquat
Green Commerce Association – Friend of the Loquat
New Port Richey Public Library – Friend of the Loquat
The West Pasco Fresh Market – Friend of the Loquat
Hudson Middle School – Featured Public School and Harvest Donor
East Madison Growers – Featured Harvesters
Kacey Atkinson – Friend of the Loquat and Harvest Donor
Kira Atkinson – Friend of the Loquat and Harvest Donor
Sue Andreski – Friend of the Loquat
Amber Blais – Friend of the Loquat and Harvest Transporter
Andrea & Paul Brzeski – Friends of the Loquat and Harvest Donors
Wendy Buffington – Friend of the Loquat and Poetry Curator
Don and Cindy Cadle – Friends of the Loquat and Harvest Donors
Brittany Connolly – Friend of the Loquat, Volunteer, and Presenter
Dell and Marilynn deChant – Friends of the Loquat
Jim Kovaleski – Friend of the Loquat and Presenter
Faye Kropik – Friend of the Loquat and Tree Spotter
Shelby Smith – Friend of the Loquat, Volunteer, and Presenter
And many others.
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:
PO Box 596
New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596
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.
Leaves of Loquat
Our poetry chapbook is almost ready for publication. This collection of poems presented at the 2015 festival is edited by Wendy Buffington and published through the support and energy of the New Port Richey Public Library, and Ecology Florida.
Leaves of Loquat is a one of a kind book, and most likely the only poetry publication dedicated entirely to loquats.
A public presentation of the book is planed for later this year, and we’ll notify readers Loquat News readers of the exact date when we have it. We’ll have readings of the poems, reflections by authors, and our editor, Wendy. Books will be available for acquisition. We don’t have a suggested donation yet, but we are thinking is will be $10.
It will be helpful to our planning, if you can let us know if you’d be interested in a copy.
Here is one of this year’s poems to whet your appetite, Carmella Guiol’s “Loquat Morning” :
I wake up with loquats
on the brain.
With my basket in hand
I visit the loquat trees
like old friends.
Which golden globes are ready
for me today?
On my tippiest toes,
I reach for those
I will leave many
in the sky,
turning from pale green
to the sweetest yellow–
Because who minds sharing
with the birds.
There are more than enough
for us all.
Next Year: Already?
Opportunity to Participate
We are already planning next year’s festival, with a tentative date of the first Saturday in April. That would make it April 2, 2016.
If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know as soon as possible.
Our greatest desire will be 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.
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.
If you are growing loquats, your harvest for the season is probably over, and new leaves are beginning to mature. That’s the case for us.
Here at Friendship Farms & Fare, we harvested our last loquats on May 1 – literally, the first day of May. We have harvested as late as June, but not this year. We estimate 100 lbs from the old south tree. We also harvested about 20 lbs from the new trees in the north garden.
Your results may differ, and we’d love to hear about your harvesting experience – and really anything related to your trees and their features.
The trees have their summer foliage now, and should do just fine without much irrigation. For archival purposes, we note that we do not irrigate our trees after they are established (about a year). We also do not fertilize, although we know those who do. Our experience is that loquats thrive without extra water or fertilizer – this is part of what we find so appealing about Florida’s Urban Fruit.
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.
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:
PO Box 596
New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596
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.
Ecology Florida is a registered charitable organization in the state of Florida. Registration number, CH 33333. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION 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 RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.