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Toledo Farmers Market

September 7, 2012
By Dawn Troutner - Market Master , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Market Report for August 24th

This market evening brought out a nice crowd and 17 vendors. Fall is approaching, but you wouldn't know it by the looks of the vendor's tables. he tables are loaded with summer and winter squash, dried and fresh herbs, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, bakery, eggs, egg plant, okra, turnips, kohlrabi, watermelons, honey, leather goods, nut meats, and flowers. There are around 8 weeks of market left, be sure to come out and make your purchases before it's too late.

The Toledo Farmers' Market isn't just for purchasing something good to eat. The Toledo Farmers' Market is for meeting family, and friends (old and new). When I think of my very best friend, I think of sunflowers. They always remind me of her, there is something very friendly about a sunflower.

Article Photos

Dawn Troutner
Market Master

I'm blessed to have great friends, near and far. I am even more grateful to have made even more wonderful friends this market season. Our community is very supportive of the Toledo Farmers' Market. May friendship shine like a sunflower in your life.

Sunflower is an annual plant native to the United States. It possesses a large flowering head. The sunflower is named after its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. Sunflowers are symbolic of adoration. Sunflowers turn their heads to the sun, which is the origin of their common name. It has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves, and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds.

Sunflower seeds produce sunflower oil, the leaves can be used in cattle feed, and the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production. Sunflowers are also harvested for their seeds. The tastiest seeds for human consumption are the large black and white striped seeds. The anticipation of harvesting those sunflower seeds in the fall is a pleasure for many. But, beware your not the only one watching and waiting to harvest those seeds.

The birds, squirrels, field mice, and deer love those tasty seeds also. Harvesting sunflowers is easy, but deciding when to harvest can be a trick. If picked to early they have plenty of seed coats with little meat.

If you wait to long the tender seeds will be too dry to roast. And don't wait for the animals to start to harvest the, there will be nothing left for you. Harvest sunflowers when their petals become dry and begin to fall. The green base of the head will turn yellow and eventually brown. Seeds will look plump and the seed coats will be fully black or black and white stripes depending on the variety you planted. If the animals or birds are a problem in your neck of the woods, cover the heads with fine netting or paper bags as soon as the petals begin to wilt. At my house I used panty hose.

It pulls over the heads nicely and lets them get air. But don't let your family see this or you may be the getting laughed at or picked at. Trust me it happens. Tune in next week for the rest of the story.

See you at market.



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