Farm Report – April 1, 2015

Farm Report – April 1, 2015

Week of April 1, 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: Peppers (Buran, 35), Tomato (Tropic, 54), Parsley (Italian, 54), “Spinach” (Red Malabar, 54).

Garden Starts: Okra: Star of David, Hill Country Red, Red Burgundy, Silver Queen. Cucumber: Japanese Climbing , Armenian

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


The Florida Loquat Festival:

Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
9:00 – 2:00

Market Off Main, New Port Richey

The Only Loquat Festival in Florida

(attached image of volunteers at harvest festival 3/29)

This is the only Loquat Festival in Florida, and it might be the only one in the USA. We have not found another.

The festival will feature fresh loquats, jellies and preserves, seeds, seedlings, and trees. Trees range in height from seedlings (about a foot high) to 7 ft trees, some already bearing fruit. There will be an educational program, featuring local growers, artisan food producers, educators, and college students.

There will also be a low-cost recipe book and a commemorative brochure with articles on the history of the loquat in Florida, recipes, a FAQ section, and images of local trees. Suggested donation for brochure is $5.00. A recent addition to the event will be students from Hudson Middle School, who are harvesting loquats from trees on their campus.

See you next Saturday. Here is the program:



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

Our featured nursery is Green Plan Tree Farms from 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.

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. Even if we do not harvest this year, we’ll make note and plan for next year.

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 – specifically next Friday (April 3). 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: 

Broccoli: Past Peak

297 heads harvested, so far

Composting begins

Prized plants flagged for seed saving

We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

We are now past peak on the broccoli. We’ll still have enough for shares for several weeks, but he height of the season has passed.

We harvested 18 heads last week, for a total of 297 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 very few good-sized heads left, but plenty of florets, mostly secondary and tertiary heads – some quite large.   The above normal heat stressed the plants, and most are now flowering. The little cool spell will likely preserve some heads.

We’ve begun composting the spent plants and flagged several for seed saving.

2014 Grapefruit Seedlings from Bartlett’s Forgotten Grove flower and fruit

2015 Seeds Germinate

Some may remember the account of our planting seeds from Bartlett’s Forgotten Grove, and how excited we were to see them germinate. Those seedlings are now a little more than a year old, and all are healthy little plants. They have thrilled us again by producing flowers and fruitlings. Yes! Amazing but true. In their first year of life, about half the seedlings each produced a flower, which matured into a fruitling. This is very exciting.

Seeds from this year’s harvest have all germinated.

The ancient trees in that wonderful forgotten grove appear to be quite fertile, and we will honor them by caring for their offspring as though they were our own. 

Okra Seedlings

We’ve planted our first okra seedlings in the south garden – several of each variety: Silver Queen, Hill Country Red, Star of David, Red Burgundy. All doing well. We’ll seed more okra this week.


Most of the cucumbers are thriving. The most successful are the Japanese Climbing. The cool spell won’t last long enough to affect them. We have planted Double Yields, Armenians, and Japanese Climbing. They are growing in the front garden, and the New South garden, next to the blackberries.

Tomatoes and Peppers

We started tomato and pepper seeds. The tomatoes have sprouted but not the peppers. Not sure why the peppers are dormant. Tomatoes that are up are Arkansas Traveler (one of our favorites) and Mexico Midgets. Tropics have not yet sprouted. We’ll plant other varieties soon.

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.

Loquats in the 3F Grove

Harvest Continues

88 lbs total

This past week, we harvested 25 more pounds, and included small quantities in many shares. Be sure to order if you’d like some this week. Quantities will be substantial, if desired.

Total harvest this season: 88 lbs (LY 75 lbs

If you have trees, check them now for your own fruit. 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).

Nursery Certification and Registration Renewed

2015-2016 Nursery Certification and Registration

Friendship Farms & Fare


We just received the good news that our nursery registration has been renewed for 2016-2017.

Friendship Farms & Fare is a registered nursery in the state of Florida. Our registration number is 48015239.

Our successful re-certification and registration renewal is another step in the development of the Friendship Farms and Fare sustainable urban agriculture project. As most of you know, we are also a registered seed seller. The nursery certification is an important expression of our farm’s mission and our commitment to responsible community development.

If you would like to support the work of Friendship Farms and Fare and help us cover expenses related to the project, please feel free to share a contribution. Friendship Farms and Fare operates under the umbrella of Ecology Florida, a not for profit corporation, so your contributions are tax deductable 

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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