Doctor Ethan Natelson President
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Travis J. Callahan Web Master
Click here to E-mail Travis
SFF Logo Compliments of Robert Hamilton
This is a sincere invitation to join the Southern Fruit Fellowship. I have been a member of this fine group for the past 29 years. I have met people in person and by mail and E-mail and I feel that nearly everything I know about growing fruit today came from communication with other fruit growers. The SFF makes this easy to do with a fine newsletter that includes the names and addresses of the people that write of their experience growing a large variety of fruits here in the south. These people are happy to share their experience with new members.
Every year SFF has a meeting of it's members somewhere in the south. The location changes so that every member gets a chance to attend. Two years ago the meeting was held here in Abbeville, LA, but I have attended other meetings in other states over the years and each is a happy memory for me. Many members make this meeting their yearly vacation to meet others with like interests and immerse themselves in the fruit growing world.
I have had many hobbies over the years, but the one that is dearest to me is growing fruit trees and vines. Come join me.
Travis J. Callahan
11403 Wesley Road
Abbeville, LA 70510
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Click below to E-mail Retta Davis our Membership Chairperson
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Click here for a recent Newsletter of
Newsletter Editors Larry & Jennifer
to email Larry
Southern Fruit Fellowship Officers:
8707 Wateka Drive
Houston, TX 77074
email the President
Dr. A. J. Bullard
307 W. Henderson
Mt Olive, NC 28365
4865 SR 26E
Montezuma, GA 31063
of a typical meeting of the SFF, this time in my town
An example of a typical meeting of the SFF, this time in my town
FELLOWSHIP MEETING ABBEVILLE, LA,
4865 SR 26E
LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!
And so the slogan was for our
recent meeting in the heart of Acadiana. I am certain that all
who were fortunate enough to be able to attend would agree that
our meetings just keep getting better and this one was no
exception. What is beyond discussion is that it was certainly
the most well attended on record. I was told that over 70 people
came and enjoyed the informational talks and tours.
Folks began to "roll" in
Thursday afternoon from all over the southeastern U.S. A.J.
Bullard, traveling from North Carolina won the award for the
longest trip in miles, but the 11 Ĺ hours
that I had to drive were nothing to sneeze at. Members from
Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Alabama joined with an
enthusiastic complement of local folks (members new and old as
well as master gardeners) to create a convivial crowd at the
Sunbelt Lodge meeting room.
BOUDIN You never sausage
Of course we had to eat and our
members brought fruit and fruit products from their respective
orchards. There were AU Cherry and AU Roadside plums,
blueberries beyond number, jellies and bread, and for the
adventurous of tongue, even some spirits of Medlar. Our hosts
Stuart Gauthier and Robert Turley provided a supplementary tray
of delicious locally obtained produce. (I still have got to get
Robert to send me some scion-wood of that cherry...grin!).
Others brought grape, pomegranate, fig, pepper plants to
give/sell/exchange. Many discussions and networking sessions
lasted until late in the evening.
LES BON TEMPS
The good times began in earnest
on Friday morning as the group gathered at the Vermilion Parish
Extension building. We were welcomed by our host, Stuart
Gauthier. During the process of the
forenoon we enjoyed presentations by Drs. David Himelrick, John
Pyzner, and James Boudreaux on Berry Fruits in the Home Orchard,
Pecans for the South, and Home Citrus Production in South
Louisiana respectively. So much information, so little time. Dr.
Himelrick is writing on home fruit production in the south and I
am looking forward to getting one.
Our tour of home orchards began
at the home of Jeb Guidry. His home/farm/orchard is located in
the midst of the steamy plains of sugarcane and rice fields in
southwest Vermilion Parish, near Kaplan. Being an outsider, I
did not immediately recognize the first crawfish "pond". I
thought it was a big muddy field. I came later to understand
that crawfish farming is practiced in rotation with rice farming
and therefore it is no surprise to find the ponds liberally
sprinkled around in the landscape.
Anyway we found ourselves in this quintessentially Acadian setting and what was first on the agenda? Lunch! And what a lunch. The Guidrys feasted us with such delicious authentic Cajun creations as boudin, grillades, rice, beef brisket, fruit salad and bread. Absolutely delectable. Many of us took our lunch out under the large spreading live oaks in the back yard. We toured the orchard after lunch and admired the row after row of satsuma, kumquats and grapefruit. I can only dream of having such citrus.
Hungry Fruit Folks
Web Master Note:
Imagine that you are told that a few people are coming to tour your orchard. How many people is an unknown. I was there. The Guidry family fed a Cajun meal to seventy people and had plenty left over. Cajun people have more food in their freezers that most supermarkets. Just dig out a few packages and heat them up. Southern Hospitality that the Guidry family demonstrated beyond a doubt. Thanks Jeb and Family.
The late Mr. Jeb Guidry answers questions from the group
Next stop was Vincent's
Christmas Tree Farm and Fruit Orchard. The Vincent's have a neat
operation where they sell satsumas and trees at the same time of
year. It was interesting to tour his packing shed and see how
We traveled down the road to
Simon's Citrus Orchard next and toured his satsuma operation.
Again, this was a neat small satsuma operation. Very nice. I
must confess that my attention was deflected by a big butterfly
vine, Mascagnia macroptera, over a trellis as well as
by the excellent apple cake and pico de gallo in the shed.
The last orchard visit of the day was back in Abbeville at the Fruit Ranch of Roy Young. His is a picturesque pick your own orchard/vineyard/nursery. The driveway and road frontage was flanked by Champanel (among others) grapes which in turn bordered the rows of figs, citrus, and other fruit. Mr. Young also maintains a nice size home nursery in the belief that folks who see and taste his fruit will want to grow some for themselves. His trees were planted up to the edge of the Vermilion River not far from his back porch.
The evening meal, a delightful
mixture of meatball fricassee, rice, salad , beans....(with
dessert provided by some of the local Master Gardeners) was
followed by a short program and business meeting.
A.J. Bullard related his mixed
experiences in grafting and growing the Chinese melon berry, or
Che, (or Cudrania tricuspidata) for that matter. He
has grafted it successfully ..or at least on the short term...to
Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) . The obvious reason
for such tinkering around is to avoid the vicious suckering root
sprouts that are so prevalent with the Che on its own roots.
Robert Hamilton updated us on
his efforts to create a website and the availability of T-shirts
with our logo on them.
After these two speakers, our
"business" then consisted of
1. Approval to keep the current
slate of Officers.
2. Raise the dues to $12.00 to
keep up with postage and printing costs.
3 Discuss the site of the next
meeting. (Stay tuned)
Saturday morning we were on the road again... east this time... to the brothers Romero orchards outside of New Iberia. As we parked under the beautiful spreading branches of the live oaks, Quercus virginiana, I thought, WOW, let me just stay here. The rest of y'all go on the tour. There is an uncanny something about these large trees. When large and well groomed, and especially if they are laden with Spanish moss, resurrection fern and green fly orchid, Epidendron magnoliae, they have the distinct ability to impart an ambiance, an air of everything good about the south in one visual experience. Does anyone else feel that way? I sense another article coming.. Anyway, where was I.....
The other brother, across the road has the above, but has a much greater variety of fruits. If you can grow it, and even if you can't, it is there. There were papaya, passion fruit, muscadines, peaches, a full assortment of garden vegetables and who knows what else.
After our most enjoyable time
there, the group left for the orchard of Mr. R. J. Robichaux and
then for a tour of Live Oak Nursery. Notice, I wrote "the
group"....my buddy Lamon and I had to leave for the long, very
long, traffic jam ridden, oh my backside aching journey back to
GA. After enduring traffic slowed to a seemingly endless and
pointless standstill going and coming in Baton Rouge and going
in Mobile, I want to figure out a better way to get westward
across the Atchafalaya Basin. Don't hold your breath.
Let us all remember to grow good
fruit, share the bounty, write plenty of good articles and
come to the next meeting.
1105 West Port
Although difficult, we managed
to get everyone out of the Romero Brothersí Orchard in Coteau
and back on the road towards R.J. Robichauxís place in St.
Martinville. After a winding drive
through the Iberia and St. Martin Parish countryside, we arrived
near the banks of the Bayou Teche at a backyard planting of a
wide variety of fruit including figs, pears, persimmons, and
From his back porch, Roland
Robichaux, a pharmacist by trade, explained the history behind
the development of his orchard. This
included over a twenty year journey of experimenting with a wide
variety of plant stock and working with numerous
horticulturalists from local universities like LSU, and UL.
R.J. has become a local expert
on persimmons and figs. He shared
some of his harvested figs with the group.
These included the giant Celeste or Tiger and the yellow
Celeste or Champagne. His love of
horticulture evolved into his daughter Mary Beth achieving a
Masterís Degree in Horticulture at LSU and getting a job at our
next stop on the tour Live Oak Gardens and Nursery.
Mary Beth led the way to Live
Oak Gardens near Delcambre, Louisiana. On
arrival, we were greeted by nursery owners Mike Richard, Sr. and
Mike Richard Jr.
Mike Richard, Sr. gave the group
a brief history lesson about the nursery. This
wholesale nursery is situated on top of a salt dome and is
located on the edge of Lake Peigneur. Recent
tragedies have given the nursery media attention.
A drilling rig in the Lake Peigneur in the 1980ís caused
the salt mine to collapse and swallowed some of the surrounding
property. Two Hurricanes within the last 5 years, Rita and Ike,
have flooded the nursery with saltwater. Despite
this damage Live Oak gardens continues to be one of the largest
and most successful wholesale nurseryís in the state.
Mike Richard Sr. in one of the many greenhouses
Mike Sr. then gave us a walking
tour of the nurseryís recent venture into edible fruits. This included an extensive array of
cold hardy avocadoes propagated from successfully grown trees in
the Acadiana Area. Tour
participants viewed a large greenhouse filled with container
grown avocadoes grown in containers top dressed with gypsum. The calcium in the gypsum seems to
repel stem cankers and root rotting fungi that often damage
young avocado trees. Olives, jelly palms, cherimoya, mangoes,
blueberries, pomegranates and other fruit being grown in the
field and in a wide variety of container sizes were viewed.
The tour took place around noon
on possibly the hottest day of the year and it generated lots of
perspiration. However, Mike Richard
Sr.ís knowledge and history lesson
of the operation made the sweating worth the effort.
We finished up with a beautiful
view of the Lake, a cool drink and a great Cajun meal at Cafť
Jefferson. Some of the group lingered around for a little longer
and made a pass through the gift shop and took a tour of the
Joseph Jefferson gardens and house.
7351 Board Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
I thoroughly enjoyed the 2009
Annual Conference at Abbeville. Since I live in Baton Rouge
there was no excuse for not going especially since I've never
been closer to Abbeville than Lafayette.
I enjoyed the hospitality shown
to us by Mr. Jeb Guidry, the Romero brothers, and R.J.
Robichaux. The reason I didn't mention any others was because it
was so hot I used my wife as an excuse for leaving at noon each
day. Even though I live here, I still can't get used to our July
I've never seen such kindness as shown by Mr. Guidry and family to feed 70 plus people, as well as allow them the run of their orchard and house.
We also enjoyed Mr. R.J.
Robichaux's invitation to sample all his figs. Two days after we
got home, there was an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate
newspaper about the newer fig varieties. After reading the
article, my wife was able to brag that she had tasted all of
I also enjoyed meeting all those
people that I've read about in the SSF Newsletters, as well as
meeting new friends. We felt like the whole program was very
well planned out. I've never been in a 40 car caravan and had
vehicles yield us the right of way! Try that in Baton Rouge if
you don't value your life!
Congratulations to all for a
very good meeting.
Lamon Ready 526 Ready Lane Cairo, Ga. 39827 Phone-229-377-5111
Ahhh, another SFF meeting I was
able to make. A year further into a hip replacement, and
something really helping the fibromyalgia at last, this meeting
was easier on me physically. It was an awesome meeting! Only
problem is, I'll have to wait for next year......
When I got back, I found my Joy
apple in its 2nd bud bloom. I got one apple about 3 weeks ago,
but I waited too long to pick it. It seemed sooo early to be
ripe that I missed it. Hopefully I
will get another one.
recommendations, I root most of my citrus. I have a pink
grapefruit I got from a local man, but he didnít remember the
name. He also had a seedling from it that is white meated, with
few seeds and has smaller thorns.
Since a nursery friend in
Moultrie, GA helped me perfect my method, I should get a high
take on the grapefruit. Satsumas are very hard to root, so I may
have to try another idea on them. The Persian lime is supposed
to be easy to root like the lemons. My friend says it tastes
much like an orange.
live near what was formerly Wights
Nursery (now Monrovia) in Cairo, GA which has a lot of
nurseries. I get my fertilizer from a local company which will
even special blend it if needed. They supply all kinds of
rooting/potting mixes, and nursery supplies. I'm really blessed
this way. They are trying to get me some greensand to try, but
thatís hard to get here. Does anyone know where we might find
put out Illinois Everbearing mulberry cuttings as my fellow SFF
members recommended. They are looking good so far! I had tried
rooting them in January like roses, plums, pomegranates, etc
without success. January is so much easier for me and I prefer
putting out cuttings then of the plants that will root
need to go to my folksí house and check out my pawpaws and
Sherwood jujubes. I bought a GA 866 jujube a while back. Iím
trying to root cuttings of it, if the dogs havenít destroyed
I was so excited to see the fig
plantings at the meeting! I put out the 'Smith' cuttings that were
so graciously given to me by Eddie Romero. I have also put out
some more of either LSU Gold, or Dianna fig cuttings. Yummmmmmy.
I have two Ventura figs I'm closely watching.
is a blessing to have a dear friend like Chris Inhulsen to be
able to ride with, and share cost with. We
live close enough that we see each other several times a year.
We have been blessed with rain
and I have only had to water the blueberries once since our
meeting. I plan on writing a letter to the editor of the local
newspaper about our group and this meeting. Hopefully some new
people will join. The more, the merrier! Till next year, Lord
Average rainfall in South Louisiana
Callahan Abbeville, LA 70510
I have tracked daily rainfall in my yard for 27 years
1990-1999 average yearly rainfall 65.9 inches
yearly rainfall 61.9 inches
2011-2016 average rainfall 72.6 inches
27 year average 66.8 inches
Lowest year 2000 @ 44.4 inches
Highest year 2016 @ 90.5 inches
Southern Fruit Fellowship Newsletter is not
responsible nor liable for missed issues due to an address or change.
Membership! The Southern Fruit
Fellowship is an informal organization of amateur fruit
growing enthusiasts throughout the Southern United State.
Membership is open to all interested parties. Membership dues
are $15.00 per year inside the US. Please note the date that
you join or renew your membership. Please do not
send your Money to the editor. Please send your check or
money order payable to:
c/o Retta Davis
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