Agriculture and Farm Report – December 28, 2015

Agriculture and Farm Report – December 28, 2015

Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

Week of December 28, 2015

A Community Service To West Pasco’s Urban Agriculture Community

Florida Loquat Festival,  March 26,  9:00 – 2:00, Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey

Mark Your Calendars

We are pleased to announce the date and location of this year’s Florida Loquat Festival.  Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state in New Port Richey on March 26.

As always, this is a Loquat Exclusive event. Only loquats and loquat-related products will be available.  Lectures, demonstrations, and educational sessions will be dedicated solely to loquats.

The poetry salon at the event will also focus on loquats.  

If you are interested in loquats, this is the place to be. We are the only loquat festival in the state, and probably the only one in the nation.  Mark your calendars (electronic and traditional), tell your friends and family. Most of all, join us on March 26 for this one-of-a-kind celebration and learning festival.

The Loquat Festival will be March 26 this year.  Make your plans now.  Click here for the latest edition of the Florida Loquat News:

First Broccoli Heads Appear

The first heads of broccoli appeared last week, and already there are a dozen or more heads.  This is early for broccoli for us.  Usually we don’t see quantities until late January.  The early heading is likely caused by the hot weather.  Hopefully, the heads will form nicely without blight or bolt.  Watch your own broccoli for heads.

Our broccoli is, of course, the famous 3F Springs Coast Calabrese variety, which we have been growing here for ten years.  Seeds are available from us, and it is still not too late to plant.

Arugula Thriving

Arugula, is abundant – the big winner so far this fall.  The plants are thriving.  All are healthy and strong.  Shares can request extra quantities if desired.  This arugula is from our own seeds, saved for three generations.

Collards and Kale Making Progress

Collards and kale are doing very well.  The cooler weather this weekend (12/18-20) will be helpful.

The heat has been hard on the both kale and collard – but harder on kale.  Small kale offerings can be included in all shares, if requested.

Habanero Peppers

Habaneros are fairly abundant now – numerous blossoms, and plenty of fruit. Order if you like this week.  Remember: These are among the hottest peppers around.

Scotch Bonnet

Here is a new fiery hot pepper for our shares – the Scotch Bonnet.  This is a Jamaican-bread pepper, which reportedly is similar to Habanero.  Our Bonnets are larger than our Habaneros, which might be the result of some cross pollination with our bell peppers.  Crosspollination would also explain their relatively milder taste.  Make no mistake these are fiery hot peppers.  Ours are just a little milder than our Habaneros.

Here is little comparison of the Bonnets with the Habaneros.

Sweet Bell Peppers

Our Carolina Wonders and Charleston Belles continue to produce. These are delicious sweet bell peppers. We’ve not had Bells in significant numbers for a while, but this season is looking pretty good.  Bell peppers will be available only by request this week – and hopefully we’ll have some.

Seed Savers Exchange

2016 Organic Seeds Now Available

New Port Richey

Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange for the 2016 season are now available through Friendship Farms & Fare and our kiosk sites in New Port Richey and the University of South Florida.  We are pleased to support the work Seed Savers, which is dedicated to preserving heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Unless we use our own saved seeds or ones from other local gardeners, we use SSE seeds exclusively.  Here is a link to Seed Savers Exchange:

You can order seeds directly from Friends Farms & Fare. See the mailing address, below, and send a check for $3.00 for each see pack desired.  Please add $1.00 to cover postage.

Here is a links to Rose’s Bistro:

Not Too Early to Think About Spring Planting

It is not too early to start thinking about your spring and summer garden. Here sy Friendship Farms & Fare we are doing just that.  

With the extreme heat we are having, our beds are filled with volunteers from last summer: sweet potatoes, okra, and tomatoes.  We’ll be planting those same crops this spring, along with eggplant and peanuts.  That will also be the plan at the Grand Gardens.

We encourage readers to begin thinking about their spring and summer garden, and we are pleased to remind everyone that Friendship Farms is a registered seed seller, with plenty of seasonal seeds available – including our prized okra seeds in several varieties. Remember, always acquire seeds and seedlings from local growers and nurseries.  The seeds and seedlings will be better than what you can find commercially.  Besides, the corporate outlets do not need more of our money, and spending with local sources promotes local economies and ecologies.

Garden Overview

Despite the heat, harvests were good last week.

The entire new south garden is now planted. We added more collards and broccoli. We harvested another tomato last week, and two small bell peppers.   

Kale is doing nicely, but Swiss Chard is still struggling.  There has been a lot of predation of the Chard. We may replace it with collards.

We started arugula seeds last week.  We’ll do more Kale this week.

See the Share Report for all items.  

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


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Contact us via email, at:!contact/cl4l

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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