Loquats March 2019

Florida Loquat News #33 – March 2019

The Newsletter of The Florida Loquat Festival

No. 33

March 8, 2019

Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit

An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event

Here Comes the Festival!

Sixth Annual Florida Loquat Festival

March 23, 2019

9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Frances Avenue Park

New Port Richey

Mark Your Calendars

The sixth annual Florida Loquat Festival will be Saturday March 23, 2019. Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey.  

The 2019 Loquat Festival will be March 23 (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.  The fifth annual Loquat Literary Festival will be from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Also, by the way, if you have a loquat poem, please submit it for the literary festival and for publication in Leaves of Loquat. Sponsorship of Leaves of Loquat and the Loquat Poetry Festival is welcome. Contact Ecology Florida for details on sponsorship.

We Are Celebrating The Tampa Yahuda

Folks who have been following Loquat News throughout the year, remember the little Yahuda that was acquired last year.  Well, this year it is already producing.  This is typical of grafted trees – of which there will be abundance at this year’s festival.  A loquat family in Tampa has lovingly nurtured this little guy.  We’ve chronicled its growth throughout the year, and now we observe its first fruit.  They are still green in this image, but they will be ripe soon – just like most of the fruit in the central part of the state.

Big Harvest for 2019

Ripe Fruit Abundant On Trees

Loquat growers and those involved in the loquat food-production industry are alerted to the potential for a large harvest this year.

We are well into the ripening season, and trees around central Florida are covered with the little orange gems. In the area around New Port Richey, more than half the trees have ripe fruit.  One of our main groves, East Madison Groves, has more ripe fruit than we’ve seen before at this time of the year.  

Volunteers have harvested 25 pounds so far – all going to canners.  We expect to harvest about 800 to 1,000 pounds by the end of the season.

If you are a grower or a canner or use loquats in food production activities, be advised: This is a great time to get out and start harvesting fruit.

If you have trees, take a moment and check to see if the fruit is ripe.  The further north you are the less likely it is that the fruit will be ripe – but it won’t be long.

Remember: The brighter the fruit the more tart it will be.  The darker the fruit, the sweeter it will be.  Bright = tart.  Dark = sweet.

Loquats bud and flower at different times – anywhere from early summer to early spring.  True.  At East Madison Groves, the first buds appeared on June 2, 2018 and the first flowers on June 22.  Some trees in the grove are still flowering (as of March 1, 2019).  Some may continue to flower well into the early spring.  

What is remarkable, and a gift from Mother Nature and these trees she has shared with us, is that that a single tree will bear fruit for several months.   Fruiting is not a one-shot deal with Loquats.  By January and February, a single tree may have buds, flowers, fruitlings, and ripe fruit all at the same time.  That is certainly true in March, as well.  Ripe fruit can be harvested now, and those flowers of today will yield fruit that will not ripen until April or even May.  Imagine that: a tree that produces fruit from February to May!

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

See the next image for an example of ripe fruit on one branch, and green fruit on an adjacent branch.  You can eat the ripe fruit today from one branch and in two weeks come back for more from the branch right next to it.

The Florida Loquat Festival’s 6th Anniversary

March 23, 2019

News, New Features, and Opportunity to Participate

This year’s Florida Loquat Festival will be March 23, 2019 (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.

Here is a link to Frances Avenue Park:


There are new additions planned for 2019.  Here are some of the details and opportunities.

Volunteers Welcomed If you would like to volunteer to assist in setting up the event or during the day of the festival, please let us know as soon as possible.  

Harvesters and Harvest Donors Our greatest desire is for volunteers to assist with harvesting the fruit – especially the week before the event.  Fruiting is very heavy right on time this year, which means we can use all the help we can get.  

The festival was late last year, but the harvest was early, and we had 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 information, below, or email, M. deChant < mdechant@tampabay.rr.com >

Preserve makers from Habitat for Humanity at last year’s festival

Canners Coming Forward We are excited with the number of folks who have come forward to prepare and sell preserves.  This year, we have more canners and makers than ever before.  We are especially happy (and honored, really) to report that Cristi Williams’ awarding Jovita Treats will be with us. Cristi’s Apple Butter received the blue ribbon at this year’s Florida State Fair. Jovita Treats also received first place awards at the Plant City Strawberry Festival and the Pasco County Fair. Cristi tells us that Jovita Treats will have distinctive loquat delicacy at this year’s Loquat Festival. Here is a link to Jovita’s facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JovitaTreats/

There are no fees for loquat vendors, canners, or bakers.  If you are making food products from loquats, or sharing the fresh fruit, please join us.  All income received is yours. We will be very happy to receive a 10% donation from your sales, if you are successful.  Please be sure to observe the Cottage Industry rules of the state of Florida.  See these sites:



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 2019. 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!  

If you plan to join us, please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your space.

Poets and Writers Called 2019 will mark the fifth year of the Florida Loquat Literary Festival. Here is the official call:

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 23, 2019. 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 prize packages awarded to first ($100), second ($50), and third place ($25).  Awards will also include publication in Leaves of Loquat.

All authors are 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 winter during a public event. Any time remaining after the reading will be open to the public for an open mic with all ages and levels of experience welcomed and encouraged to participate. Deadline is March 10, 2019.

Writers can submit up to three poems. If making more than one submission, send all in a single document. Include brief bio sharing your writing experience/ publications, if any, to 
dechant@usf.edu You can also mail submissions to Friendship Farms & Fare, PO Box 596, New Port Richey, FL 34655-0596.  Deadline March 10, 2019. Accepted submissions notified upon acceptance.

Live Music The 2019 festival will again include live music, featuring the jazz guitar stylings of Carolyn Yates.

New Features (tentative) We don’t want to get anticipation too exaggerated, but we will have some unique offerings at this year’s festival.

Tea It looks like we’ll have locally made loquat tea from White Heron Tea and Gifts.  Long a staple in Asia, our local tea company has developed a delicious local version of this international classic.  Kelly Hackman, the proprietor of the White Heron has entered the tea in an international tea competition.

Beer In downtown New Port Richey, the Cotee River Brewing Company will be featuring Loquat Beer. Yes, we now have locally-brewed loquat beer.  Bryan Hackman (Kelly’s spouse) is working with local growers to produce this one-of-a-kind brew.  We cannot serve beer at the festival (City code prohibits this), but there will be plenty available in downtown New Port Richey.  Here is a link to a great story about the brewery.


Art  Besides beverages, new this year will be the first ever Loquat Art Show. The show features local artist, Andrea Hiotis.  Andrea will have a wide selection of paintings and note cards featuring loquats.  

Andrea Hiotis, Loquat fruit and flowers with butterfly

Trees Galore The festival would not be complete without a wide assortment of trees.  It also would not be the same without our featured nursery, GreenDreams.

This year’s festival will feature trees, from seedlings and saplings to large trees. Our major focus will be a wide array of grafted trees and seedlings offered by GreenDreams – A Sustainable Solutions Company. GreenDreams is a major force in the sustainable food and culture movement, offering a wide assortment of organic fruit trees, suitable for Florida growing We encourage folks to visit the GreenDreams’ website, and see all they have to offer: https://www.greendreamsfl.com/

GreenDreams has been a mainstay of the festival for many years. As the festival’s primary nursery, this year it will 0ffer its widest selection yet of high-quality named varieties.  All told, we’ll have close to 150 trees, with over 100 coming from GreenDreams.  These will include some of each of these varieties:

Premier     Golden Nugget    Bradenton         Oliver     Champaign    Sherry    Yehuda

We are particularly pleased to have the hard-t0-find Yehuda again this year.  This is the second year we have been able to make it available and GreenDreams’ proprietor, Pete Kanaris, reports that he’ll have a good supply.  Pete may also have the very popular Christmas loquat at the festival.

Most of the grafted trees from GreenDreams have fruit on them this year.  3-gallon trees are 3-4 feet tall and slim (for $45).  7-gallon trees are 4-6 feet tall and full (for $65).   GreenDreams will also have seedlings (for $5).

We are also delighted to have Pete Kanaris on the program again this year, addressing the role of fruit trees in a sustainable, comprehensive food system on residential properties.

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.  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.

Tentative Program This year we are expecting to have presentations on a wide variety of products: making loquat preserves, medicinal uses of loquats, creating loquat tea (along with samples), the place of loquats in a food-producing yard, loquat festivals from around the world, and many others.

Suncoast Credit Union Becomes Major Sponsor of 2019

Florida Loquat Festival

As many readers know, Suncoast Credit Union has long been an important supporter and contributor to the Florida Loquat Festival.  For this year’s festival, Suncoast Credit Union has made an especially generous contribution to the festival – becoming the first Major Sponsor of the event.  

Please stop by the Suncoast Credit Union booth at the festival and say hello.  Also, consider stopping by a branch location and reviewing their products. The Florida Loquat Festival is pleased and honored to have the support of Suncoast Credit Union. Like all of our sponsors and supporters, Suncoast Credit Union is a local organization with a deep and long-term commitment to the community.  

Besides Suncoast Credit Union, the festival is thankful for these committed supporters for 2019:

Premier Supporter

The Cultural Affairs Committee of New Port Richey

Key Contributors & Major Event Supporters

The Hook Law Group

S.I. Electric

The Rotary Club of New Port Richey

Contributing Supporters

Maharajh Acupuncture & Herb Shoppe

The Central

Wright’s Natural Market

West Pasco Habitat for Humanity

Creative Institute of Dental Arts

Rose’s Bistro Off Main


The Mission of Florida Loquat Festival

The Florida Loquat Festival is an annual agrarian event in New Port Richey, Florida, which promotes food sovereignty and celebrates this unique place in the world, its food system, and the people who have made a commitment to both.

We are all reminded that the Loquat Festival is a celebration of seasonal fruit grown in and around the Springs Coast Watershed.  The quantity of fruit at the festival is based largely on regionally available production.

In this way, the Loquat Festival harmonizes with other seasonal food celebrations in New Port Richey, including the Okra Occasion in late summer, the Sweet Potato Round Up in the fall, and the Collards Festival in early to mid-winter.  We call these events, the Agrarian Quartet.  For every food there is a season, and we have found an excellent locally-grown product for each of the four seasons of this part of Florida.  Loquats, Okra, Sweet Potatoes, and Collards – our Agrarian Quartet.

We do not aim to make these events bigger and bigger every year (although they all continue to grow in attendance and vendors), we aim to make them better and better very year.  Unlike many other festivals in Florida, our aim is not to make these festivals a distraction, a carnival, a concert venue, or a flea market.  Rather, through these festivals we seek to rediscover the sources of our existence – our seasons, our local food system, the place we call home, and all our neighbors: humans, animals, and plants.  

Hard Copy of the News


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:  



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

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 our very busy (and informative) facebook page.  


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:


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 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 can 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.

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, “Loquats,” 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:  



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.


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 https://tarrylane.wixsite.com/friendship

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 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.  


Jellies, jams, and preserves are always a popular feature at the Florida Loquat Festival


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