Fifth Annual Florida Loquat Festival to be held March 24 in New Port Richey
Ecology Florida and Friendship Farms & Fare, with the support of the City of New Port Richey, will host the fifth annual Florida Loquat Festival on Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Frances Avenue Park (6156 Louisiana Avenue, 34653) in New Port Richey.
The 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.
A January freeze impacted fruit development in main production area, known as the Springs Coast Watershed. While there will be some preserves, it is likely that there will be fresh fruit as well. There will just not be as much as previous years.
As with other fruit festivals, loquat fruit production is subject to weather conditions, and this year (for the first time in the history of the festival), the freeze was severe enough to impact fruit development.
There will still be loquat jellies and jams to compensate for our missing loquats, organizers have decided to offer other preserves. In cooperation with local artisan canners, this year only, we will work to be sure that visitors will be able to enjoy high quality locally-produced preserves.
Also an important part of the festival is education. Presentations will include instructions on growing and cultivation of loquat trees, how to eat its fruit, recipes based on loquats, the role of the loquat in sustainable farming and permaculture gardening, and the cultural context of this wonderful tree.
A major feature of the festival will be the trees, from seedlings and saplings to large trees. Green Dreams is a major force in the sustainable food and culture movement, offering a wide assortment of organic fruit trees, suitable for Florida growing
Green Dreams has been the festival’s primary nursery for several years, and this year it will offer its widest selection yet of high-quality named varieties. All told, about 150 trees, with nearly 120 coming from Green Dreams. These will include some of each of these varieties: Premier, Golden Nugget, Bradenton, Christmas Oliver, Champaign, Sherry and Yehuda. All Green Dreams trees will be in three-gallon pots for $45. Other nurseries will have smaller trees lower prices, including seedlings for $5. For best selection of the trees, please come early.
“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.
The festival opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey (6156 Louisiana Ave., 34653). The event program begins at 10 a.m., which includes a poetry reading with the focus on the loquat fruit 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 24 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), call Marilynn deChant at (727) 849-1626.
EVENT SPONSORS AND HOSTS
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
PREMIER EVENT SUPPORTER
Suncoast Credit Union Our mission is simple — improve the quality of our members’ lives by maintaining a strong, secure and innovative credit union that builds trust, shows respect and maximizes efficiency.