Ecology Florida and Friendship Farms & Fare, with the support of the City of New Port Richey, will host the fourth annual Florida Loquat Festival on Saturday, April 8 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 expanding 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.
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.
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, Christmas, Premier and Sherry. For this year’s festival, Pete has gone all out. Green Dreams will have somewhere between 120-150 grafted loquats.
Joining Green Dreams will be Friendship & Fare from New Port Richey, one of the sponsors 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 & 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). The event program begins at 10 a.m., which includes a poetry reading with the focus on the loquat fruit.
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 April 8 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), call Marilynn deChant at (727) 849-1626.
FLORIDA LOQUAT FESTIVAL
Official Program – April 8, 2017
Welcome and Introduction
Dell deChant, University of South Florida
Proclamation & Welcome to New Port Richey
Rob Marlow, Mayor of New Port Richey
The Florida Loquat Festival Story & History
Supporters’ Recognition & Comments
Our Local Trees & Growing Your Own
Loquats From Farm To Table: Canning & Beyond * Sue Andreski, Black Cat Kitchens
11:30 a.m. -12:00 noon
Loquats & The Florida Homestead * Jim Kovaleski, Freedom House Farms
12:00 – 12:15 p.m.
Special Announcement: New Port Richey FarmNet
Anne Short, FarmNet and Jake Pieterse, Habitat for Humanity
Loquats & Our Changing World * Dell deChant, USF
Loquat Literary Festival: “O! Loquat!”
Ryan Cheng and Lacie Meier, MFA Program, Dept. of English, USF, Facilitators
Supporters’ Recognition and Thanks
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.