Farm Report – February 17

Farm Report – February 17

Week of February 17, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

A Community Service To the Local Farming Community

For the full Farm Report, go to:

Planting & Harvest Notes

Winter Seeding and Garden Starts This Week

Seedings: Cucumbers 90 (Japanese Climbing, 45; Stupice, 45); Peppers, Charleston Belle, 46.

Garden Starts: none

Harvest Notes:  herbs, arugula, eggplant, collards, kale, swiss chard, loquats, kumquats, broccoli

Finding the Best Organic Kale

Please check local first

We found chopped organic kale in 12 oz bags at a corporate grocer for $4.99. It was shipped in from California. Nice bright packaging with plenty of black and multicolor inks for eye appeal and lettering.

So, we hustled up a few 16 oz bags of our 3F kale, and dropped them off at the Market Off Main, our local fresh produce market. Our kale had full leaves, was unchopped, used 2,300 few food miles, was fresher by at least two days, did not exploit any laborers, and used no industrial farm equipment in the harvesting — and at $5.oo for a pound it was cheaper than the stuff shipped across the continent.

We did the same thing with our collards and swiss chard. We found no organic collards or swiss chard at commercial grocers – but there is now plenty at Market Off Main.

The Florida Loquat Festival: Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
April 4, 2015 – 9:00 – 2:00 – Market Off Main, New Port Richey

April 4 is the date of the Loquat Festival. Mark your calendars, and join us for this one-of-a-kind event. In the meantime, please spread the word about Loquats and the event.

We are making good progress on the planning, and should have information cards available in the next week or so. If you know of locations where a small number of cards could be left, please let us know. We’ll share some with you.

Travis from the Nature Coast Real Food Network and a volunteer from Friendship Farms & Fare will be traveling to Brooksville on Monday (2/9) to tour a local loquat grove. We’ll share a short report on the visit in the next Farm Report, and look for a feature article on this grove in the Loquat News.

Steve and Joan MArie in the Loquat Grove in Brooksville
Steve and Joan MArie in the Loquat Grove in Brooksville

As for the festival itself, here are some details:

This is a “Loquat Exclusive” event, so everything being shared (for sale, contribution, or gift) will be a loquat or loquat-derived product. We will have seeds, seedlings, young plants, several large plants, fresh fruit, jellies, jams, and pies. No citrus here. We will also have lectures and educational events on planting, cultivating and harvesting; eating, preserving, and recipes; and the history and cultural context of loquats. This year, we will have loquat literary offerings (see below).

Second: If you have a loquat tree that volunteers can harvest for the festival, please let us know your location (and phone number); we’ll make arrangements for the harvest in season. Getting a “stable” of trees is very important to the festival.

Third: Volunteer opportunities. If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know. At present, our interest is in folks who could help with tree-spotting, and assisting with harvesting in advance of the event.

Fourth: This year’s festival program includes a session on loquat literature – “O! Loquat!” The program will present short literary offerings (poems, narratives, prose poems) about loquats or prominently featuring the fruit or tree. We’ll use an open mic format on the day of the event. We’re excited about this addition!  Here is a link to an announcement on the literary event:

Garden Overview

Winter Harvests

(additional details and assessments follows)

If anyone would like to come by the farm, extra large shares are available. Bring bags or boxes. All the winter greens are at peak (and should be for another couple of weeks). We’d love to share as much as possible. Please let us know if you’d like to stop by for an extra large share.

We are getting ready for spring planting, and have extra cucumber seedlings available. We still have some winter seedlings available, and if you’d like to plant some late winter greens, we have a nice collections of collards, broccoli, and swiss chard. We’ll share these for contributions to the farm. It is still not too late to plant, although we are getting close to the end of the planting season for winter vegetables.   We won’t be planting any more winter vegetables.

We have good to large quantities of broccoli, arugula, collards, kale, and swiss chard. Eggplant is still hanging on, with small fruit on the shrubs. Eggplant will be FCFS.

See the Share Report for all items.

Tomatoes continue to mature nicely.

For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (


We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

We harvested over 39 heads this week, for a total of 91 heads so far this season. As the season continues, readers will notice that the total number of heads will far exceed the number of plants planted. This is because Calabrese (our famous heirloom!) produces secondary and sometimes tertiary heads .

There are probably another 50 good-sized heads in the gardens, and another 50 plants yet to produce any heads. The cooler temperatures are accelerating the development of heads.


As noted in our feature, we found chopped organic kale in 12 oz bags at a corporate grocer for $4.99. It was shipped in from California.

So, we hustled up a few 16 oz bags of our kale, and dropped them off at the Market Off Main. Our kale had full leaves, unchopped, used 2,300 few food miles, was fresher by at least two days, did not exploit any laborers, and used no industrial farm equipment — and at $5.oo for a pound it was cheaper than the stuff shipped across the continent.

We did the same thing with our collards and swiss chard. We found no organic collards or swiss chard at commercial grocers – but plenty at Market Off Main.

We have ample shares of kale for this week. It has been a real success story for us. Our weekly kale harvests are about twice the size as last year – e.g. last year we used one gallon packing bags and this year we are using two gallon bags, and packing them rather densely.

Kale orders include leaves from all our varieties– Superior, Scarlet, Lacinato, Siberian, Red Russian, Halbhoher Gruner Krauser, and Dwarf Blue. The strongest of the kales is the German Kale (Halbhoher Gruner Krauser), followed by the Superior, and then Lacinato. We have an entire bed of the Halbhoher in the south garden. 

Swiss Chard

Like the other winter greens, all varieties of swiss chard are thriving. We’ll have enough for good-sized shares for all who desire.

Swiss Chard picks up debris from the garden in the furrows and wrinkles of its leaves. Please rinse thoroughly. Also, remember, to remove the central stem, which is too bitter for most palates. The stem can be cooked, but should be prepared separately from the leaves. Here is a good site for details on this fine winter vegetable:


Arugula is prolific. There is enough for large shares for all.


Our welcome to stop by for extra large shares, has a special invitation to enjoy our collards. This is their season. Our two varieties, Georgia Southern and Vates, are large, lush, and ready for harvest.

Community Garden Project at New South Garden

We are ready to receive applications for our community garden project. Folks interested in acquiring a plot can contact us through the 3F site. If you like to garden, or just want to learn, and don’t have space, contact us. Our rates are very low.

We have installed sample community garden beds. Each is (108 sq feet) 12 x 9 or 18 x 6.


We been moving our cucumber seedlings in and out of the outside nursery. These are the Double Yields and Armenians we started two weeks ago. They can take the cold, but they do not like it much below 50.

3F Produce for non-shareholders

Non-Members may order shares for $20 per week, or $50 per month. For this amount, contributors may request any and all items they desire from the weekly Share. Although we will assist with transmissions, it is the responsibility of the contributor to make arrangements for pick up of the share.

As always, non-CSA Members may request single items from the share list for $5 per item. A full share for one week (any/all items) is $20, and $50 for one month. Annual shares are recommended, at $300 per year. Five-month shares are $200.

Just reply using the website contact link if you desire anything on the list. We suggest non-shareholders start an account to cover costs of items.

Time to Start Spring Seedlings

We are again reminding readers that it is time to start seeds for spring planting. Here at the farm, we’ll be starting bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers. Not far behind will be Okra. We are loosely following the Bible for Florida Farmers, James M. Stephens, Vegetable Gardening in Florida, but also taking into consideration our local weather conditions, higher temperatures, and our experience with specific plant families and varieties within families.

We’ll be happy to supply you with seeds for your spring garden. Just let us know which varieties you would like, and we’ll have them available for you at Market Off Main, here at the Farm, or by mail to your home — $3.00 a packet.

The 3F Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project

Friendship Farms & Fare operates a unique small-scale (boutique) CSA, involving few participants, and using very basic management techniques. We are 100% organic and use permacultrures principles. Our program is recommended for single persons, couples, or (at most) three-person families. The cost of a share is low by typical CSA standards: $300 per garden year (October through September). This works out to a bit less than $6.00 per week. Donations are also gratefully received, with all donations going to maintenance and improvement of the gardens and groves.

If you are interested in any topic presented here, contact:


Visit the Friendship Farms & Fare website for the Weekly Farm Report:!report/c1tuh


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:


If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations through our website (above) or at our mailing address:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596




Friendship Farms & Fare reaffirms, restores, and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture


Natural, Economic, Cultural…bringing three ecologies together to regenerate a resilient future for all.

PO Box 596 ● New Port Richey, Florida 34656-0596


Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world

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