Florida Loquat Festival News – No. 25
Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event
Florida Loquat News
The Newsletter of The Florida Loquat Festival
October 1, 2017
Loquat buds and Hill Country Red Okra
Loquat budding season coincides with the peak of the okra harvest season. At Friendship Farms & Fare garden and groves okra grows adjacent to the loquat trees, sometimes growing right up into the branches – and the buds!
Budding and Flowering Continues
Tiny Fruit Appearing Soon
The 2017-2018 budding and flowering season continues, and the first tiny fruit should be appearing on some trees.
Most of the trees have budded and flowered in the Friendship Farms & Fare groves. Our trees are reaching maturity well before even the most generous time periods given in the literature.
All told, we now have twelve trees at the Friendship Farms & Fare groves that are budding and flowering.
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 fall. They continue to bud and flower well into the fall.
So far, for us, twelve trees are flowering: the five young trees from last year and the previous year, the three from 2014, and the two older trees that have been producing for over a decade – and two more young trees budding for the first time this year. The older trees are called Grandfather (on the domestic estate) and Grandmother in the south garden.
Stay tuned for further updates, and please send us your stories and images.
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
Several folks have asked about acquiringa 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:
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:
PO Box 596
New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596
The Florida Loquat Festival’s 5th Anniversary
March 24, 2018
News, New Features, and Opportunity to Participate
Next 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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Accepted submissions notified upon acceptance.
Check out Frances Avenue Park Here!
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:
Artists’ Contact If you are an artist and want to receive information on the show, contact Marilynn deChant:
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.
Announcing the 2018 Festival & Release of Leaves of Loquat, Vol. III
November 6, 2017, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
New Port Richey Public Library
The public announcement of the 2018 Florida Loquat Festival will be on November 6, 2017, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., at the New Port Richey Public Library.
Details on the 2018 event will be released, including the Florida Produce Art Show and the annual Loquat Literary Festival.
The main event will be the release of the Leaves of Loquat, Vol. III, the Loquat Literary Festival chapbook. Poets and writers will share reading of works from the book and sign copies for patrons. A lecture on loquats and local-agrarianism will also be presented.
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!
It is flower and budding season for Loquats around Florida. Here is flower cluster on a tree in West Pasco County
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:
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:
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.