Saturday, December 3, 2022

Annual Holiday Pot Luck Dinner - RSVP Info in Post

 It's December, so instead of a regular meeting, we hope that you will join us for the traditional MRFC Holiday Pot Luck Dinner on Monday, December 12th at Manatee County Fairgrounds Harlee Building, Palmetto, FL General arrival 6:30 PM. At 7:00, a brief business meeting will precede the potluck dinner.

Please bring a salad, side, or dessert for about 15 people, and bring your own plates, cups, utensils, and drinks.  The MRFC will provide the "protein" main dish of turkey and ham, along with water and sweet and unsweetened iced tea.

RSVP: To Sarah at mitchell8manatee@yahoo.comwith the number of people in your party, and what dish you plan to bring. Arrive around 5:30 pm if you can help set up,and please stay after to clean up.

If you would like to take part in a small gift exchange, bring a wrapped gift valued at $5 or less. Participants will be part of a white elephant exchange.

Friday, November 4, 2022

November 2022 Meeting - Charles Novak - Lessons Learned in Decades of Growing Tropical Fruit

Join us Monday, November 14th, 2022 at 7 PM 

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Charles Novak

Title: Charles will speak about what he has learned over his decades as a grower of rare fruit. 

MRFC November Speaker
by Darryl McCullough
Our November speaker will be legendary Plant City rare fruit expert Charles Novak. He has been growing rare fruits for over 30 years, and was President of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International for 7 years. An avid collector of very rare plants from all over the world, he has developed many fruits, including the Novak loquat.
When I first moved to Florida and became interested in growing tropical fruit, I visited Charles’ home in Plant City. He was extremely generous with his time and his knowledge, and inspired me to develop my own collection. His talks at local fruit clubs have also provided knowledge that I have been able to put to use.

Charles will speak about what he has learned over his decades as a grower of rare fruit. I can hardly wait.

Monday, September 26, 2022

October 2022 Meeting Canceled

Fellow MRFC Members,

The Board has decided to CANCEL the October club meeting scheduled for next Monday, October 10.

As most of you know, our planned October speaker already requested to be postponed. We have also learned that the Manatee County Fairgrounds is being used as a staging area for FPL and County contractors. And many of us are feeling overloaded and worn out from repairs, cleanup, and other stresses of hurricane recovery. November will be here soon enough.

Meanwhile, we hope that your hurricane recovery efforts are proceeding well, and at least most of your fruit trees will live to fruit another day.

The Board

P. S. Through no one’s fault, the posting of the link to the October newsletter will be delayed a bit longer, but should be sent to you soon.

Friday, August 26, 2022

September 2022 Meeting - Har Mahdeem - Tools, Products, and Sprays for Growers

Join us Monday, September 12th, 2022 at 7 PM 

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Har Mahdeem

Title: Tools, Products, and Sprays for Growers

Noted tropical fruit expert Har Mahdeem returns to our club this September with a presentation on tools, products, and sprays for growers. Don’t miss this opportunity for info you can use on your own trees.

Har has an entire lifetime of experience with tropical fruit. He grew up in the Amazon region consuming rare jungle fruits and later worked with the famous Zill nursery on their annona breeding program and various germplasm collection trips. Currently he owns a tropical fruit grove and dooryard consulting business specializing in plant nutrition, pruning, grafting/top working and education.

Be sure to check out Har’s many Youtube videos that provide extensive practical advice on tropical fruit horticulture.

The plant raffle and a tasting table are back!  We encourage you to bring a potted plant to raffle or a fruit dish to share.

REMINDER:  Have you paid your 2022 dues yet?  It's easy to pay online (the preferred way), by mail, or by cash or check at the next meeting. Dues are $12 per year and can be paid for 1 or 2 years. Click here for more information about dues and to pay online.

2022 Palma Sola Botanical Park Rare Fruit Tree Volunteer Workday

The third 2022 Palma Sola Botanical Park rare fruit tree volunteer workday is scheduled for Friday, September 2. Anyone who would like to help out with weeding, spreading mulch, or pruning can come and go as you please. There will be a brief non-required introduction at 8:00, and an introduction to pruning techniques at 1:00, following a bring-your-own lunch at 12:30.

The display of over 70 tropical fruit trees was created and is maintained by the Manatee Rare Fruit Council, and is the largest such collection in our region. The Park is located in far west Bradenton at 9800 17th Ave NW, across the street from the Robinson Preserve.

Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and sun protection, bring their own beverages and snacks, and may if they wish bring pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and (highly recommended) gloves. Please label any tools you bring with your name.

Please RSVP to Third Insight Design if you are planning to come or have any questions. The MRFC is able to sign off on volunteer hours for high school and others. Please contact us to arrange for this.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

August 2022 Meeting - Doug Phillips - Blueberries

Join us Monday, August 8th, 2022 at 7 PM 

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Doug Phillips

Title: Blueberries

Our August speaker will be Doug Phillips, UF/IFAS Blueberry Extension Coordinator. Doug hold a B. S. in Horticultural Science from North Carolina State University and an M. S. in Horticultural Science from the University of Florida, and is based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. Among many professional activities, he assists growers with production, disease, and pest issues, evaluates trial selections at Florida breeding program trial sites, and is the author of numerous articles on blueberry horticulture in Florida. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

July Meeting - Staple Crops of Florida - Josh Jamison

Join us Monday, July 11th, 2022 at 7 PM 

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Josh Jamison

Title: Staple Crops for Florida

Our July speaker will be Josh Jamison, the primary grower and horticulturalist at Cody Cove Fruit Farm and Nursery in Babson Park, FL. He was the garden manager at the HEART Village in Lake Wales from 2013-2022, working as an educator and managing the diversified demonstration farm.

Cody Cove is a small family farm whose goal is to provide nutritious food to the community and promote sustainable agriculture through offering high quality plants and produce. Its focus is on collecting elite edible plant varieties from around the world and making them available to home gardeners, small farms and beyond.

Josh’s presentation will be “Staple Crops for Florida.” Most gardeners focus on growing fruits and vegetables. While delicious and nutritious, these items tend to be low in calories. Staple crops are foods that are high in the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we need for energy and survival. The primary subject will be starchy root crops that we can grow in Florida, with some discussion of other relevant plants.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

June Meeting - Dr. Manjul Dutt - The Finger Lime: Citrus Caviar.

 Join us Monday, June 13th, 2022 at 7 PM 

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Speaker: Dr. Manjul Dutt

Title: The Finger Lime: Citrus Caviar

The finger lime (Citrus australasica), native to Australia is a thorny understory shrub producing finger-shaped fruit that contain compressed juice vesicles which tend to burst out when cut. These tart lime flavored juice vesicles have been termed as “citrus caviar” and are gaining popularity in restaurants as a garnish and as a component in mixed drinks. This presentation will outline the development of exciting new varieties that should be of interest to both commercial growers and home gardeners alike.  

Dr. Manjul Dutt received his PhD degree from the University of Florida and his MS from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Dutt is currently employed as a research scientist at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, FL. The main emphasis of his research is on the development of breeding and molecular strategies to combat Huanglongbing, an often fatal disease of citrus. Conventional breeding strategies include the insertion of HLB resistance genes from the citrus relatives (both wild and cultivated) into conventional citrus for the development of HLB resistant scions and rootstocks. His molecular research is focused on the utilization of Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) to develop HLB tolerance.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Tropical Fruit Society of Sarasota Ceases Operation

The Tropical Fruit Society of Sarasota (TFSS) has closed its doors.

The Society was formed in 2012 when the longstanding Sarasota Fruit and Nut Society split into TFSS and the Suncoast Tropical Fruit and Vegetable Club based in Nokomis.

The inability to find new officers and other volunteers prompted the dissolution of TFSS. Reliable sources report that the Suncoast club has also ceased operation, although we have not seen any public notice of this.

TFSS conducted a sale of its accumulated tree sale and other gear on April 23. The Society’s funds will be donated to the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL.

For those interested in local organizations supporting local home growers of tropical fruit, the TFSS Board highly recommends the Manatee Rare Fruit Council. Another local organization to consider is the Sarasota Tropical Fruit Gardening Meetup, though it is currently not very active.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

May 2022 Meeting - Sean Moore - Green Leaf Worm Farm

 Join us Monday, May 9th, 2022 at 7 PM -  Sean Moore from Green Leaf Worm Farm who will speak about “The Amazing Earthworm”. He will also answer questions about worm castings, worm tea and biochar.

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Friday, May 6, 2022

Annual Tree Sale - Saturday May 7th - Rain or Shine

The Wait is Over...

It's the biggest.  It's the best.  And it only happens once a year!

The MRFC Annual Fruit Tree Sale is tomorrow - RAIN or SHINE!

WHEN:  Saturday, May 7th, 2022 •  9 AM - 3 PM

WHERE:  Premier Sports Campus, 5895 Post Blvd, Lakewood Ranch, FL  34211

The venue is outdoors, so please make sure to bring what you need to stay cool and protected from the sun.  The sale site is a huge open area (225 feet by 650 feet) that will provide plenty of room for our vendors and customers to spread out. The facility has ample parking and restrooms.

WHO:  A selection of the best vendors in central and south Florida. Vendors will bring the best stock available that is suitable for growing conditions in this part of Florida.  Arrive early for the best selection.

Vendors will be accepting payment directly for their own sales -- and many will be accepting credit cards, but it's best to bring cash just in case, so that you don't miss out on your favorite must-have trees.  There will be no ATM available at the site.

Make sure to bring your cart or wheelbarrow, if you have one, to make it easier to move about the site.  There is no "Holding Area" this year.  If you need a plant held, please ask individual vendors about their policy.

Please visit the Manatee Rare Fruit Council table to ask your fruit growing questions and to talk about MRFC membership.

 There will also be fertilizer, t-shirts, and copies of the MRFC fruit cookbook available for purchase.

We hope to see you at this year's Rare Tree Sale!

Come early for the best selection and bring a wagon or cart, if you have one, to help carry your plants as you shop.

We're never sure what plants our vendors will bring, but there will be thousands of trees and other plants that have been selected to perform well in Central Florida.

Each year our sale is a huge success. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase fruit trees, meet other fruit growers, and even join the MRFC.

Monday, March 21, 2022

MRFC Meeting April 11th - Alex Salazar - Mangos

Join us Monday, April 11th, 2022 at 7 PM -  Alex Salazar of Tropical Acres Farms will be speaking about Mangos

Harlee Building/County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221

Our April speaker will be Alex Salazar, a leading expert on Florida mangos and other fruits. He operates Tropical Acres Farms in West Palm Beach, which supplies fresh fruit, trees, budwood, and consulting services. If you love mangos (and who doesn’t?), don’t miss this one.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

MRFC Rare Fruit Tree Sale - Saturday, May 7th, 2022 - Lakewood Ranch, Florida

 What: MRFC Rare Fruit Tree Sale

When: Saturday, May 7th, 2022, 9am-3pm

Where: Premier Sports Campus 5895 Post Blvd, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211

This is a once-a-year opportunity to purchase rare and unusual fruiting trees and plants. 15+ vendors, outdoor event, expert advice. 

This is a great opportunity to meet experienced fruit tree growers and purchase trees, fertilizer, and possibly sample some fruit vendors may bring.
We encourage people to bring wagons to haul their chosen trees. 

The location will be the same as 2021 - Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch. The date however has changed and is now the Saturday before Mothers Day.

March 2022 Meeting - Plinia & Myrcairia with James Farwell

March 14th, 2022

Harlee Building at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221.

The MRFC March speaker will be James Farwell, owner and operator of the Farwell Fruit Farm, LLC in Ft. Myers. The Farm currently grows more than 450 species and cultivars of subtropical and tropical fruit, and sells the seeds at The main species are the Plinias and Myrciarias (Jaboticaba and its close relatives), and the Farm features more than 200 cultivars and species of Plinia. 

On Facebook, James started and continues to administer an active Group, Plinia & Myciaria Growers, with around 1,300 members. 

James’s presentation, Plinia & Myrciaria, will give an overview of these genera, the history of Jaboticabas in Florida, species and cultivars, growing requirements, common growing problems, propagation, production and the marketplace, additional resources, and a fun quiz at the end with some prizes.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

February Meeting - Lychee Erinose Mite

The next monthly meeting will be Monday, February 14th at 7pm, featuring Raleigh Barnes, who will speak about the Lychee Erinose Mite.

We will also elect officers, approve proposed budgets for 2022, and review plans for the club's rare fruit tree collection at Palma Sola Botanical Park.  It's important to have as many members at the meeting as possible to vote on these important matters.

We will also begin collecting membership dues again for 2022.  Dues are $12 per year and can be paid for 1 or 2 years. Click here for more information about dues and to pay online.  You may also pay with cash or check (made payable to MRFC) at this or a future meeting.

The plant raffle and a limited tasting table will resume.

REMINDER:  The meeting location returns to the Harlee Building at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221.

Monday, January 3, 2022

January 10th, 2022 Meeting at Palma Sola Park - Herbs with D & D Herbs

Please join us as Dennis Gretton from D & D Growers in Lithia, Florida speaks about herbs.

What: MRFC Monthly Meeting

When:  Monday, January 10, 2022 at 7pm

Where: Palma Sola Botanic Park, 9800 17 Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209


  • This month's meeting will be held at Palma Sola Botanic Park (not at the Fairgrounds).
  • The presentation and discussion of the 2022 MRFC budget and of plans for Palma Sola maintenance will be postponed to a future meeting.
  • There will be no tasting table or plant raffle at this meeting.
  • Dues payments are also postponed to future meetings.