Debra Black and Tom Schafer will talk about RFCI on Mark Govan’s radio show, Florida Gardening, (station 970AM, WFLA) this Sunday morning, October 19, 2017, from 7am to 9 am. Thank you Tom and Debra!

December 17, 2017, 1:00 p.m., Christ the King. Holiday Party! Please note the meeting this month falls a week later than normal and starts an hour earlier than our regular meetings.

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. Bring a dish to share . . . we will have a wonderful feast–and the raffle ticket you receive might just win the plant you’ve always wanted. Also bring a $10 gift for the gift exchange.

March 11, 2018, 2:00 p.m., Christ the King. Kumquats! with Greg Gude. RESCHEDULED from September 2017. What citrus fruit do you eat whole, skin and all? Kumquats! Greg Gude, a grower who generously donates kumquats for our citrus celebration, will talk about growing this delectable sweet-tart delight. Kumquats have different growing requirements than a lot of other citrus varieties and Greg has been growing them for decades.

Bring a dish to share for the buffet table.Side note: Each year, just before Dade City’s Kumquat Festival, Greg hosts tours of kumquat groves and the Kumquat Growers packing house in St. Joseph–well worth the trip. The next festival is on January 27, 2018.


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.

Missing newsletters

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:
1980-all                   1983-July
1989-December       2005-October



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, spoke on Hydroponic Gardening and brought an impressive display of hydroponic systems. THANK YOU, Francisco!

October 14 and 15, 2017, Plant Sale at the USF Botanical Gardens. Great job again! We heard reports that some vendors had very poor sales . . . but we did well. WELCOME to our new members who joined at the plant sale!

Our planned September 2017 program, Kumquats! with Greg Gude, was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Greg has been rescheduled for March 11, 2018.

August, 13, 2017, 2:00 p.m., @ Christ the King. GROWING BANANAS! Celeste Welch of Sulcata Grove, an urban farm in north Sarasota, discussed banana varieties & best practices for propagating and growing this yummy fruit.

July 9, 2017, 1:00 p.m., Christ the King. MANGO FEST! What a party! Great job for the team who put together a wonderful event where we got to try a wide variety of the worlds’s favorite fruit–MANGOES! Welcome to all our guests and new members!

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 and said that many of the commercially available Mediterranean olives need a longer chill season than we often have. 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!


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.


If you are an RFCI member and NOT receiving your RFCI newsletter in your email, please send an email to: tb.rarefruit@gmail.com so we can update our records. Thank you.

To join, download and fill out a membership application form from:  https://rarefruit.org/membership/, and send with check of money order for $20 made out to Tampa Bay RFCI to:

Tampa Bay RFCI
39320 North Ave.
Zephyrhills, FL 33542.

If your dues are due, please send check or money order for $20 made out to Tampa Bay RFCI and mail to:

Tampa Bay RFCI
39320 North Ave.
Zephyrhills, FL 33542.


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