August, 13, 2017, 2:00 p.m., @ Christ the King. GROWING BANANAS! Celeste Welch of Sulcata Grove, an urban farm in north Sarasota, will discuss banana varieties and the best practices for propagating and growing this yummy fruit.
In 2007, Celeste and her family moved to the edge of the Amazon jungle in the Pastaza province of Ecuador, South America, which provided the opportunity learn more and increase their passion for rare, tropical fruits.
In 2011, they purchased property in Sarasota, FL. Today, they grow over 100 varieties of subtropical and tropical fruit trees, raise completely pastured chickens breeds from around the world, and house 5 honeybee hives.
September, 10, 2017, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Kumquats! with Greg Gude
October 14 and 15, 2017, Plant Sale at the USF Botanical Gardens. Volunteers needed (and appreciated!)
November 12, 2017, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Growing with Hydroponics! Francisco Rivera, Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises faculty at the Hillsborough County Extension office, will speak on Hydroponic Gardening on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the McLoughlin Center at Christ the King Catholic Church. He will talk about which plants can be grown hydroponically (without soil), their requirements, different hydroponic methods (and their advantages and disadvantages), and current research initiatives. A variety of hydroponic “setups” on exhibit to demonstrate “do-it-yourself” hydroponic system hacks.
Francisco oversees Hillsborough County’s Small Farms and Alternative Enterprise program, with emphasis on sustainable agriculture methods, agricultural marketing, rural resource conservation and protection, least toxic pest management, and regulatory requirements for agricultural production. Additional interests include the rural/urban interface, intensive small scale agriculture, and small farm livestock/forage production. Francisco also supports local farmers’ markets and urban farms in addressing food accessibility and serves as an adviser for the 4-H Youth Development program.
Francisco has a BS in General Agriculture and an MS Animal Science (Animal Nutrition) from the University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez Campus and completed an MBA (Accounting) at Metropolitan University.
December 17, 2017, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Holiday Party! Please note the meeting this month falls a week later than normal.
Our speaker for this meeting will be Charles Novak, past president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International. Charles will talk about tropical fruit tree cold weather protection, an issue which can be critical if we get an unexpected (and now seemingly rare) cold snap.
~MARK YOUR CALENDAR~
The Tampa Bay Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International meets on the second Sunday of the month except in February (Citrus Celebration), April (USF Plant Sale) and October (USF Plant Sale). We will meet on the THIRD Sunday for our Holiday Party this December.
Our newsletter archives are fairly complete . . . but we are missing some issues. If any older members have any of the following issues, please contact Tom Schaefer or Sandra Kischuk. The missing issues are:
July 9, 2017, 1:00 p.m., Christ the King. MANGO FEST! PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE! Come early, bring a dish to share for the buffet table, and be ready to talk about growing rare fruit plants in the Tampa Bay Area. Oh, and bring your appetite and interest in trying a wide variety of the worlds’s favorite fruit–MANGOES!
Sweetwater Organic Community Farm, June 11, 2017, Christ the King. A representative from Sweetwater Organic Community Farm spoke about the objectives of the Sweetwater organization.
Olives, May 14, 2017, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Michael Garcia, Pres. Olive Growers of Florida, spoke on growing olives in Florida, noting, in particular that many of the Mediterranean olives that are available commercially need a longer chill season than we tend to have in this area. See the July newsletter for varieties that require fewer chill hours. Olive varieties that grow in North Africa, which will be more adapted to our climate, are not readily available . . . yet.
USF PLANT SALE: Saturday, April 8 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday, April 9 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2017. Kudos to our team members who again organized and ran a wonderful spring sale.
Citrus Celebration Success/ Florida State Fair
Feb 12, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. What an amazing team! Chair Bill Vega and his team designed a beautiful display booth (4th place–WOW!–against some pretty tough competition) and the citrus tasting was well organized and went off smoothly.
We had a great selection of fruit thanks to the members who went out to the various growers and distributors . . . our cutting team and our “table supervisors” worked diligently to keep the tables well stocked, Paul Branesky kept the juicer running, and our customer service team greeted guests and sold, sold, sold!
Thank you to our members who provided food (we will try to plan that better next year so that we have more people bringing food since we were a little short for the number of volunteers who showed up). I was especially thrilled that some of our new members joined us.
Thank you to Bill and to all of our members who helped make this event a great success!
BIG CITRUS NEWS!
Jan 8, 2017, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Speaker: Dr. Jude Grosser, University of Florida Professor of Plant Cell Genetics. (guest of George Campani).Dr. Grosser’s presentation about citrus research provided the first truly hopeful news we have heard in years about treating greening. UF is developing a number of greening resistant root stocks and greening resistant scions, but the big news is that greening is being controlled in already infected trees through the application of elevated levels of specific micronutrients. This type of slow-release fertilizer is not yet available on the market. More information to follow, when we get the information from Dr. Grosser about who we need to contact to expedite getting this fertilizer to market.