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Toledo Farmers Market

September 14, 2012
By Dawn Troutner , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Market Report for August 31st

This market night brought out 14 vendors and a large crowd to enjoy this beautiful Friday night market. Some of the items available were winter and summer squash, onions, potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes all sizes, fresh herbs, dried herbs, popcorn, bakery, pies, okra, beets, carrots, watermelons, honey, eggs, eggplant, edamame, green beans, jams and jellies.

Be sure to come out the Toledo Farmers' Market on Friday nights from 5-7 p.m .and make your fresh purchases today.

Article Photos

Ethan Klemesrud, Austin Kupka and Brandy CarlsonĀ are new market friends.
-Photo provided

Again this week I watched old friends and new friends connect at market. This is the best part of marketing, watching people interact. Connecting, conversing and just smiling makes the market what it is. Last week I was talking about friendship and sunflowers. It's time for the rest of the story.

When your sunflower is dried and ready to harvest, everyone has his or her own method. One method of harvesting is to allow the seeds to fully ripen on the stem. That is when the seeds are just beginning to loosen from the head. Cut the stem about one inch below the head. Then briskly rub the seeds from the head with your hand, and blow off the chaff. Allow the seeds to dry before storing. I lay the head on a screen or something that will allow the air to circulate. Another way to harvest is when about 2/3 of the seeds are mature. You will want to cut a longer piece of the stem, about 3-4 inches works. Wrap the head in a paper bag and hang the heads in a well ventilated area for a few weeks to dry. You want the area warm, but not hot.

Sunflower harvesting has been a tradition in many American homes. Sunflowers have also been part of man's diet for centuries, dating back to the Native Americans before the Europeans arrived. They boiled the heads to extract the oil and then they ate the seeds either raw or baked in breads. The seeds are a good source of calcium, phosphorus and potassium. You can create a new fall tradition for your family by harvesting sunflower seeds, either for winter feed for our feathered friends or a tasty treat for your family.

If you have a beautiful sunflower in your yard but you didn't plant it. Enjoy!!!! One of our feather friends probably left you a gift when visiting. But I must warn you; farmers' HATE them in their fields. The sunflowers can cause damage to their equipment. Sunflowers are either an annual or a perennial. You ask, how do I tell? Look at the following to tell the difference.

Seed heads, annual sunflowers can have either large or small seed heads, but perennial sunflowers have only small seed heads.

Blooms, annuals will bloom the first year after being planted from seeds, but perennials grown from seed will not bloom for at least 2 years. Roots, perennials will have tubers and rhizomes attached to their roots but annual sunflowers just have the typical string like roots.

Annuals will have shallow roots, while perennials have deeper roots. Seeds, non-hybridized perennials will have relatively few seeds since it's prefers to spread through its roots. The seeds will be smaller. Annuals spread through their seeds and will have larger seeds. Growth pattern, annuals tend to grow from a single stem. Perennials grow in clumps with many stems coming out of the ground.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the sunflowers in your life. See you at market.


Sunflower Seeds

Cover unshelled seeds with salted water, using to cup of slat per 2 quarts of water.

Soak seeds in the salt solution overnight. Drain off the water the next morning and pat sees dry to remove excess moisture. Preheat the oven to 33 degrees F.

Spread the sunflower seeds evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally. The seeds will often develop a small crack down the center as they roast.

Test after each stirring to see if the seeds are completely roasted by tasting. After roasting, cool completely. Store the seeds in an airtight container.



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