Loquat News #37 – February 2020

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Florida Loquat News

The Newsletter of The Florida Loquat Festival

No. 37

February 18, 2020

Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit

An Ecology Florida/Friendship Farms & Fare Annual Event

Seventh Annual Florida Loquat Festival

March 21, 2020

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

(Educational Program 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)

Frances Avenue Park ~ New Port Richey, Florida

Mark Your Calendars

First Fruit, January 21, 2020 – East Madison Groves

A close up of a fruit treeDescription automatically generated

Ripe Loquats in early Winter: Beauty, Nutrition, and Joy Here are the first ripe fruit at East Madison Groves in New Port Richey.

The Seventh annual Florida Loquat Festival will be Saturday March 21, 2020. Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey.  

The 2020 Loquat Festival will be March 21 (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) at Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey Florida.  The educational program will be 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The sixth annual Loquat Literary Festival will be from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

For more details on the 2020 festival, read further in this issue of FLN.

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.

New Event for 2020: First Ever Loquat Art Festival

We have some new additions to the festival this year.  Most notably, and most exciting: The first ever loquat art festival. Artists of all media are welcome to submit artistic offerings that feature loquats. Only loquat art will be accepted for the show.  Application deadline is March 7.  See Florida Loquat Festival Facebook page for application.  Artists can sell their work and all artist work will be eligible for prizes.  

Harvest Forecast for 2020
Ripe Fruit – Right on Time
January 21, 2020

Loquat growers and those involved in the loquat food-production industry are preparing for the 2020 harvest.

We are early in the harvest season and trees around central Florida are covered with fruitlings and the first ripe fruit. In the area around New Port Richey, the trees are nicely flowered, fruitlings are abundant on many, and early harvesting has begun.  The cover image for this issue of the News features the first ripe fruit at the East Madison Groves in New Port Richey.   First ripe fruit this year was January 21, 2020 – delicious!

Folks at the groves have been harvesting early fruit for a couple of weeks.

Friendship Farms has the ripe fruit on several trees, and East Madison Groves has ten trees with fruitlings. Fruit development throughout these groves is good, but not remarkable.  If we can avoid a hard freeze (below 27 degrees), we should have a fine 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 late February (probably the week of the 17th), and harvests pick up from there.

If you have trees, take a moment and check to see if those fruitlings have started to ripen.  You should certainly have flowers by now, most growers will have large quantities of fruitlings, and  many trees should have their first ripe fruit.

Check for buds (at the tips of branches), fruitlings, and fruit. Loquats bud and flower at different times – anywhere from late to spring to late winter.  They continue to bud and flower well into the early spring, and ripe fruit is available from mid-January all the way through to early June.  

This extended period of fruiting is remarkable and yet another example of this kind tree’s incredible generosity.  

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

Loquats and Tomatoes From Friendship Farms, February 1, 2020

If the Great Mother (Nature) is generous with weather and temperatures, in the early winter we can harvest both loquats and tomatoes

The Florida Loquat Festival’s 7th Anniversary

March 21, 2020

News, New Features, and Opportunity to Participate

This year’s Florida Loquat Festival will be March 21, 2020 (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:

http://cityofnewportrichey.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Frances-Avenue-Park-4).  

There are new additions planned for 2020.  Here are some of the details and opportunities.

Volunteers Welcomed If you would like to volunteer to assist in setting up the event or on the day of the festival, please let us know as soon as possible.  You can contact us at mdechant@tampabay.rr.com .

Harvesters and Harvest Donors Our greatest desire is for volunteers to assist with harvesting the fruit – especially the week before the event.  Fruiting was very heavy last year, and we had abundant fruit for the event.  It is still too early to tell what the harvest will be like this year.  We are alert to the impact of climate change on all natural systems, so we’ll be prepared for any eventuality. We will set our expectations high, and plan for a cool winter and mild spring, with  plenty of fruit for this year’s festival.  Let us know if you’d like to share in the adventure of harvesting.       

Included in our high expectations and positive plans is having plenty of volunteers stepping forward to assist. Let us know if you’d like to help.  Everyone is welcome. We also share a special welcome folks who will donate the harvest of their trees.  Contact information is last in the News. You can also email your information to, Marilynn deChant  mdechant@tampabay.rr.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 2020. Every year there are more preserves than the previous year, and every year all are sold before the festival is over – last year nearly 800 jars were sold by seven different partners!  

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.  

There are no fees for loquat vendors, canners, or bakers.  If you are making food products from loquats, or sharing fresh fruit, please join us.  All income received is yours. We will be very happy to receive a percentage donation (maybe 10%) from your sales, if you are successful.  Most of our partners (“vendors”) do share a donation – and we are most appreciative of those who care to share.  

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

Poets and Writers Called 

2020 will mark the sixth year of the Florida Loquat Literary Festival. Here is the official call, published in several literary venues:


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 21, 2020. 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 ($200), second ($100), and third place ($50).  Awards will also include publication in Leaves of Loquat, and other small complimentary favors.


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. 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.

Deadline is March 6, 2020.


Writers can submit two poems. If making more than one submission, send both 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 6, 2020. Accepted submissions notified upon acceptance.

Literary Festival Sponsors 

If you are interested in sponsoring the Florida Loquat Literary Festival, contact Marilynn deChant mdechant@tampabay.rr.com.

Live Music The 2020 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.

Local Loquat Beer and Tea Patrons last year raved about the Loquat Tea from New Port Richey’s White Heron Tea and Gifts and the locally brewed Loquat beer from the Cotee River Brewing Company.  We are expecting to have tea again this year, and we are already telling harvesters to set aside plenty for fruit for loquat beer.

Loquat Art Show Look for the first ever Loquat Art Show at this year’s festival.  If you are an artist or know an artist whose work is appropriate, contact Marilynn deChant mdechant@tampabay.rr.com. All media is welcome so long as loquats are featured.  

Art Show Sponsors If you are interested in sponsoring the Florida Loquat Art Festival, contact Marilynn deChant mdechant@tampabay.rr.com.

GreenDreams Will Have Trees  We are delighted to have GreenDreams with us again this year – and as always with an extensive array of high-quality named varieties.  GreenDreams’ proprietor, Pete Kanaris, reports that he’ll have a good supply of trees.  As we go to press, we are awaiting news of the full range and list of varieties from Pete. Look for that list in the next issue of Florida Loquat 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. 

The Mission of Florida Loquat Festival

The Florida Loquat Festival is an annual agrarian event in New Port Richey, Florida, demonstrating food sovereignty in this unique place in the world, celebrating its highest yielding fruit tree, affirming its local food system, and commending the people who have made a commitment to all three.

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 Winter Harvest Festival in early to mid-winter.  

We do not aim to make the 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 our neighbors – humans, animals, and plants.  

A group of people posing for a pictureDescription automatically generated

One of the harvesting teams for the 2019 Festival

Hard Copy of the News

 $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:  

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

https://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.

By the way, did you know that you can make wine, tea, and beer from loquats?  We are now in contact with some local artisans working on formulas to craft just such libations.

Support Opportunities Available

If you or your business would like to support this 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 interested in supporting the Florida Loquat Festival, contact Marilynn deChant mdechant@tampabay.rr.com.

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 Loquat Festival Facebook page to sign up for Loquat News. If you know

others who might like to learn about loquats 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.

Go to the Loquat Festival Facebook page and let us know your email address and we’ll add you to the mailing list.

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:  https://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.


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: https://www.ecologyflorida.org/

If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations 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

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