Farm Report – March 17 2015

Farm Report – March 17 2015

 Week of March 16, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

A Community Service To the Local Farming Community


For the full Farm Report, go to:


Seedings: Okra

Garden Starts: Japanese cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers

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

Broccoli: Nearing Peak

265 heads harvested, so far

We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

We harvested over 40 heads this week, for a total of 265 heads so far this season.  Last year, our harvest totaled 164.  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 30 good-sized heads in the gardens, and another 20 plants yet to produce any heads.  The cooler temperatures are accelerating the development of heads.  Paradoxically, the warm spells have caused some broccoli to flower early – mostly, those most exposed to sun.

Garden Overview

Winter Harvests Cresting

(additional details and assessments at 3F site –

We have passed the peak of the winter harvest season.  We will likely begin composing, so let us know if you desire extra large shares.  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 and okra seedlings available. We’ve started planting cucumbers, and we’ve seeded tomatoes and okra.

It is too late to plant winter greens, although some collards and kales may do well until it gets really hot. We won’t be planting any more winter vegetables, and do not recommend others do any either.

We have ample quantities of broccoli, arugula, collards, kale, and swiss chard.  Some eggplant shrubs damaged in the freeze are showing signs of life.

See the Share Report for all items.

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

Okra Sprouts

Our okra seeds (from our 2014 harvest) have all sprouted. 100% germination! Commercial nurseries do not have this degree of success. We’ll be planting the seedlings in the gardens this week.  The sprouting of okra is one of those wonderful harbingers of spring that never ceases to thrill.  We are going with our favorites:  Star of David, Red Burgundy, Silver Queen, and Hill Country Red.


Our cucumbers are starting to take off.  They love heat, as long as they get sufficient irrigation.  These are the Double Yields, Armenians, and the Japanese Climbing. We’ve begun planting them in the front garden, and the New South garden, next to the blackberries.  The Double Yields and Aremenians are new this year.  The Japanese Climbing are the ones that did so well last year

East Madison Growers and Friendship Farms & Fare Team Up:

New Community Garden Planned in East Madison Neighborhood

3F has teamed up with friends and supporters to develop a new community garden in the East Madison neighborhood of New Port Richey.

The property owner has committed to having East Madison Growers and 3F use a vacant lot for a community garden.  There is still some paper work that needs to be reviewed and signed, but the project looks to be solid.  We’ll have more about this exciting new development in the future Farm Reports.

The Florida Loquat Festival: Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
April 4, 2015

9:00 – 2:00

Market Off Main, New Port Richey

Program Established

Nursery Selected

Dried Loquats added to product line-up – with demonstration 

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

We should have information cards, and posters available in the next week or so.  If you know of locations where a small number of information cards could be left or a poster put up, please let us know.  We’ll share some with you.

We’ve just added another item to the product lineup: dried loquats. These are dehydrated version of our favorite fruit, produced using a solar powered oven by featured presenter, Jim Kovaleski, from Freedom House Farms.  Jim will also demonstrate how the process works.

We have established the program for the festival, and to assist your planning for the day’s events, here it is:



Welcome and Introduction, Dell deChant, Ecology Florida

followed by
The Journey of the Loquat (origins and history), Shelby Smith and Brittany Connolly

USF Religious Studies and FARM

Loquat Cultivation, Permaculture Applications, & Drying Techniques

Jim Kovaleski, Freedom House Farms

Loquats in the Kitchen, Sue Andreski, Black Cat Growers Kitchen


Loquats and Culture, Dell deChant, Ecology Florida


Special Announcement: Local Economy & Local Ecology Project

Travis Morehead, Nature Coast Real Food Project


Loquat Literary Festival: “O! Loquat!” – Wendy Buffington, Facilitator

We have also selected the featured nursery for the festival – Green Plan Tree Farms in Brooksville.  Green Plan does not have webpage, but here is their facebook page:

Although we cannot be certain, it appears that Green Plan has the largest loquat grove in this part of the state – perhaps even the largest in the entire state.

Travis from the Nature Coast Real Food Project and a volunteer from Friendship Farms & Fare visited with Green Plan’s proprietors (Steve and Joan Marie) last Monday (2/9), and enjoyed a tour of the grove.  There are at least 200 trees in the grove, and maybe more.  Green Plan will have a large number of loquat seedlings and young trees at the festival. Green Plan will also have several large trees, which are already bearing fruit.

Look for a feature article on this grove in the Loquat News.

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.  If you’d like promotional cards to distribute, please let us know.  We are happy to get the cards out into the community.

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:

You can find flyers at these locations (which we thank for their support of the good news of our favorite fruit and its festival):

Temple Terrace

Urban Place Apartment
On50 Apartment
Naga Tea
Comfy Kids
Grace’s Hydroponics*
Temple Terrace Public Library
Chuck’s Natural Food Store (Tampa location)*.

New Port Richey

Market Off Main

Around Town Cleaners

Master Mechanics

Tasty Tuesday Community Market (Public Library)



Pet Authority

Loquats in the 3F Grove

Harvest Continues

41 lbs total

This past week, we harvested 26 more pounds, and included small quantities in many shares.  Be sure to order if you’d like some this week.  Quantities will be substantial this week, if desired.

Total harvest this season: 41 lbs  (LY 75 lbs)

If you have trees, check them now for your own fruits.  They are coming in heavily now.

One of the many benefits of the loquat is its long fruiting season, with fruit maturing over a four-month period.  We’ll harvest our first fruits in January and keep harvesting through April.

As noted previously, in addition to fruit, the trees are now putting forth new growth.  Look for radiant virescent leaves, soft and tender to the touch, with sharp tips pointing to the heavens.

If you would like to order a tree for your own yard, garden, or food forest, just let us know.  We have all sizes from small (1 gallon pots, 1-2 feet $10-20) to very large (5 gallon pots, 5 feet+ $50 and up).

If you would like to order a tree for your own yard, garden, or food forest, just let us know.  We have all sizes from small (1 gallon pots, 1-2 feet $10-20) to very large (5 gallon pots, 5 feet+ $50 and up).

Seed Savers Seeds Available Through Friendship Farms & Fare

3F is pleased to offer the highest quality organic, heirloom seeds to the community.  You may order Seed Savers seeds from us.  These are the only seeds we use at Friendship Farms, unless we use our own 3F seeds saved from previous years.  Find the seeds you desire online, let us know the type(s) and quantities, and we’ll order them for you.

Cost: $4.00 per packet ($3.00 for shares).  We’ll include them in your share or mail them  to you, if you give us your address.


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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