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Big Harvest Forecast for 2019 Loquat fruitlings to appear on time

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on February 11, 2019

The annual Florida Loquat Festival is schedule to take place in Frances Avenue Park (6156 Louisiana Avenue, 34653) in New Port Richey on Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. -2 p.m.  Following the festival from 1 to 2 p.m. will be the Loquat Literary Festival.

This festival is a learning and sharing event to help expand the knowledge and appreciation of the loquat tree and its fruit. There will be presentations on the cultivation of loquat trees, how to eat its fruit, how to can it and cook with it, including recipes using loquats.

Loquat growers and those involved in the loquat food production industry are alerted to the potential for a large harvest this year. There is an early fruiting and trees around central Florida are covered with flowers, fruitlings, and young fruit. In the area of New Port Richey, the trees appear to be very heavily flowered with abundant fruitlings already. If you are a grower or a canner or use loquats in food production activities, be advised that the first major harvests will occur this month.

Loquat Festival Volunteers and Loquat Product Vendors Sought

Volunteers are needed for the festival and especially for the upcoming harvest.  Anyone who wants to help on a team may call Dell deChant at  (727) 849-1626. Also anyone interested in making and selling preserves and baked goods at the festival may call as well.

Homemade jams will be available for sale at the 2018 Loquat Festival. Recipes will be shared for utilizing the versatile fruit. silviarita / Pixabay

Also featured will be samples for tasting, and a talk on the cultural context of this often overlooked Florida fruit-bearing tree. Trees will be available for sale from licensed Florida nurseries along with fresh fruit, loquat preserves, and other loquat products.

“To the best of our knowledge, the Florida Loquat Festival in New Port Richey, Florida is the only loquat festival in the United States of America. There are loquat festivals in other parts of the world, including China and Japan, but so far we’ve not learned of any others in the USA” said Dell deChant, one of the events organizers.

Many Varieties of Loquat Trees available at the Loquat Festival

This year’s loquat festival will have more cultivars and seed-grown varieties than ever before, and perhaps the most ever in any one place.  “We have at least two certified nurseries confirmed and we might have a third,” noted deChant.

Pete Kanaris of Green Dreams located in Brooksville, is the owner of the sustainable solutions company that will feature a wide variety of loquat trees, including Golden Nugget, Premier, Yehuda, and Sherry. Green Dreams and other nurseries will have at least 100 trees at the event.

Visitors at the Florida Loquat Festival in New Port Richey have several varieties of loquat trees to choose from brought in by certified nurseries.

Joining Green Dreams will be Friendship & Fare from New Port Richey, also a sponsor of the event. Their trees are all seed-grown, with seeds selected from the best trees in their high-yielding grove, which is part of their urban farm. Friendship Farms & Fare curators report that their trees produce fruit in two to three years.

deChant also added that the trees go very quickly and encourages event visitors to come early. It opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey (6156 Louisiana Ave., 34653).

Loquat Literary Festival includes Loquat focused poetry

Loquat Festival Literary & Poetry Reading is held at each festival and will be featured at the 2018 event. Educational presentations and tree sales are part of the festivities. Image courtesy of Jon Tietz

The event program begins at 10 a.m., which includes a poetry reading with the focus on the loquat fruit beginning at 1 p.m. The festival will have preserves, seeds, recipes, brochures, lectures, poetry, and fresh fruit. Festival shirts will also be available. For more information about this event scheduled for March 23 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), call Marilynn deChant at (727) 849-1626.


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