New Port Richey, FL (April 25, 2017) – Under blue skies and lots of sunshine, the annual Florida Loquat Festival took place in early April at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey. The event, now in its fourth year, attracted more than 1,000 visitors.
The festival is all about learning and sharing the knowledge and appreciation of the loquat tree and its fruit. There were several presentations on the cultivation of loquat trees, how to eat its fruit, how to can it and cook with it, including recipes using loquats.
Pete Kanaris of Green Dreams, a vendors with more than 100 trees, nearly sold out while jam and jelly vendors ran out of product completely. Friendship Farms & Fare saw its supply of trees walk out of the park with happy buyers. Their trees are all seed-grown, with seeds selected from the best trees in their high-yielding grove, which is part of their urban farm. Friendship & Fare curators report that their trees produce fruit in two to three years.
Also featured were samples for tasting and several speakers who gave talks on the cultural context of this often overlooked Florida fruit-bearing tree. Visitors bought commemorative brochure and originally designed loquat-shirts that were on display throughout the event.
“To the best of our knowledge, the Florida Loquat Festival in New Port Richey, Florida is the only loquat festival in the United States of America. There are loquat festivals in other parts of the world, including China and Japan, but so far we’ve not learned of any others in the USA” said Dell deChant, one of the events organizers.
Another feature of the loquat festival is the poetry readings that take place prior to the end of the proceedings. Several participants offered their creative works by reciting them for attendees. All will be printed in The Florida Loquat poetry book that will be available for purchase later this year.
Organizers for the festival are already at work on the fifth annual Florida Loquat Festival to take place in March 2018. The premier sponsor for this year’s event was Suncoast Credit Union.