Agriculture Report – June 13, 2016

Agriculture Report – June 13, 2016

Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

Week of June 13, 2016

A Community Service To New Port Richey’s FarmNet


West Pasco’s Urban Agriculture Community

Brief Highlights

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Starkey and deChant Presentation of Urban Agriculture

Monday June 20, 5:30

New Port Richey

Join Dell deChant and Frank Starkey for a presentation on urban agriculture and urban design – Monday June 20, at 5:30 at People Places, 5742 Main Street, New Port Richey.

deChant is chair of the City of New Port Richey’s Environmental Committee, and will give a 30 minute talk on urban agriculture and its importance to sustainability, cultural health and community enrichment. Starkey is founder of People Places, a real estate development, design and consulting firm. He will follow deChant’s presentation with a brief discussion of urban agriculture from the urban design perspective.

Mangos Maturing

Our mango trees are carrying a fair amount of fruit. The fruit is very heavy and pull down the branches.  This is the first season our mango trees have produced fruit, and we are looking forward to sharing them through the CSA – and enjoying some ourselves.

We harvested several mangos, which were not yet ripe, but which we are ripening using our ripening technique.  We’ll keep you posted.  If all goes well, we’ll have mangos for shares next week (June 20).

Eggplant Doing Well

We’ve harvested about 20 eggplant fruit so far, and most of the shrubs have fruit or flowers.  This will be our best year for eggplant.  Right now, the heaviest producers are the Caspers, which produce a creamy white fruit.

Summer Crops Producing Nicely

This week we expect to have summer produce in good quantities – except for beans.  There will be plenty of okra, as will be the case for the rest of the summer.  We’ll have sufficient eggplant for all shares, and it looks like there are enough sweet potato leaves to harvest.  These are the three summer staples for our gardens.

Besides the “big three,” we’ll always have an abundance of habanero and scotch bonnet peppers, and we often have sweet bell peppers and small (cherry and grape size) tomatoes.   We are still waiting on the beans to produce in sufficient numbers to include in shares.

Aside from cilantro, which struggles in the heat, herbs are in good supply. We’ve even gotten some sage to the harvest stage.  

For at least one more week we should have collards, thanks to Hart’s Family garden, which is sharing collards with us (and the CSA).  These collards are very large and still in good shape.  Most of the collars in the East Madison Gardens are heat stressed.

Sweet Potatoes Doing Well

We have about 650 slips in the ground at both gardens, and by mid-July we should have our first sweet potatoes – early August at the latest.  We are growing Beauregards, Georgia Jets, Dianes, and Nancy Halls.  The Dianes and Nancy Halls are heirlooms.  Nancy Halls should be cured before serving – curing means keeping then in a cool (above 55 degrees) location for at least 3 months.  

Try the Leaves!

We should have sweet potato leaves by early June, and then through the rest of summer, until September. Vines and leaves are a wonderful warm-weather leafy green vegetable – one of the few available through the summer in Florida.  If you have not tried them, please consider doing so this year.  Many folks use them all summer long.

Grand Gardens and Loquat Festival T-Shirts Available

Grand Garden and Loquat Festival T-Shirts are now available.  Suggested minimum donation for the shirts is $15, additional donations will help us cover production costs and allow us to give more to the students at Gulf Middle School (our school partner).


Through exclusive agreement with Friendship Farms & Fare, Rose’s Bistro Off Main (6238 Grand Blvd, New Port Richey, 34652) will feature fresh, organic, locally-grown okra throughout the summer.

Rose’s Bistro Off Main will receive fresh okra twice a week from New Port Richey’s Community Gardens (Grand Gardens and East Madison Gardens). Okra will be available on Mondays and Thursdays – first come first served.  The okra will be packaged in quart bags and offered for sale at $3 a bag or two bags for $5. Bags will contain a medley of organic heirloom okra, including: Hill Country Red, Silver Queen, Star of David, Red Burgundy, and Rouge Lance.

Okra deliveries to the Bistro will be twice a week, availability will be based on sales – call in advance to confirm availability, (727) 849-4940. While you are there, enjoy a wonderful meal and before you leave you can purchase heirloom organic okra seeds, and grow your own this summer.

This is a great way to support local agriculture, the local economy, sustainability initiatives, and cultural resilience.

Rose’s Bistro Off Main
6238 Grand Blvd. New Port Richey 34652
(727) 849-4940

Summer Planting Tips

Here are some good plants for summer:

Beans (Lima and string/bush and pole)- we recommend lima and bush




Sweet Potatoes

We recommend these vegetables on the basis of their suitability for our area, our history of growing them, their high-yield, and because they are relatively easy to grow.  Folks are welcome to try other warm-weather vegetables.

We are offering seeds and seedlings of these vegetables to folks in the New Port Richey Farm Network (Friendship Farms & Fare and Grand Gardens) for a contribution.  If you have a plot at Grand Gardens we will gift you seedlings – you can share a donation if you like.  

Folks who desire seeds can acquire them for a donation (suggested $2 per pack).  If we don’t have what you desire, go to Seed Saver’s Exchange website, pick the items you want, then give us your order.  Seeds are offered with suggested donations of $3 or $2 for 3F and GG participants (CSA members, plot holders, and contributors). See the SSE website:

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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.
Friendship Farms & Fare affirms and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture

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 give online, go to the Ecology Florida website, and use the paypal button

Friendship Farms & Fare affirms and advances

agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture

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

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

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