Florida Loquat News
July 22, 2015
Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event
A New Season Begins As First Buds Appear
The first buds of the 2015-2016 season have appeared on several trees at the Friendship Farms & Fare grove. For folks interested in tracking the production cycle of their trees, now would be the time to begin checking.
So far, for us, five trees are budding: the three young trees much celebrated last year, and the two older trees that have been producing for over a decade. We call them Grandfather (on the domestic estate) and Grandmother in the south garden.
We are anticipating some more of the younger trees to produce this year, so we are watching all very closely.
You’ll find images of the first budding of our trees, which you can compare with your own trees. You’ll note that these are just buds. Flowers will appear later. Our trees bud as early as July and as late as November, which is wonderful since it means they also fruit for a long time (usually from December to May).
Stay tuned for further updates, and please send us your stories and images.
A member of the Loquat Festival planning team recently visited California, where she was struck by the significant number of loquats at a farmer’s market. She captured some images, and we are sharing one in this issue of the News.
In California, Loquats are much more of a commodity than they are in Florida. We expect that to change in the coming years, and we are committed to doing all that we can to popularize this wonderful fruit. One important key to this is developing its commercial potential, which is one of the major goals of the Florida Loquat Festival.
2016 Festival Planning
We are doing advance planning for next year’s festival, with a tentative date of the first Saturday in April. That would make it April 2, 2016.
We are planning to have another poetry session, perhaps with a different format. Speaking of which: If you’d like a copy of last year’s poetry collection (Leaves of Loquat), let us know. We are about to go to print on it. You’ll find a later section of the News devoted to the book, along with another poem.
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.
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:
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 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 have reduced the price for the book to $5
It will be helpful to our planning, if you can let us know if you’d be interested in a copy.
Here is another of the 2015 year’s poems to whet your appetite, David Hamby and Shelli Ginther’s “The Incredible, Edible Loquat”:
deep yellow fruits
on a dark green tree
with meandering roots.
Little mini pears
grown in zone 9,
pleasure for taste buds,
yours and mine.
A cluster of fruit come together
on the end of the limb,
a meeting of color and flavor
great in canning or even as trim.
A nutritional powerhouse
full of good things,
vitamins and minerals are
what the loquat tree brings.
A gift of God
for us to share,
to enjoy and love
and plant everywhere.
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.
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.