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Published: Thursday, 5/26/2011

Flowers, flowers everywhere at Toledo Farmers' Market

BY TAHREE LANE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gardening enthusiasts will find flowers, plants, and yard art from local vendors. Gardening enthusiasts will find flowers, plants, and yard art from local vendors.
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Pity the poor middleman. His services won't be required at the 22nd Flower Day Weekend at the Toledo Farmers' Market, where 35 local growers will sell baskets bursting with flowers, heirloom tomato plants, and yard art.

"It's a great way to explore all the possibilities of what's available from local sources and to interact with the people who grow them," said Dan Madigan, executive director of the market.

Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be a market day at which greens, asparagus, rhubarb, and onions are in season, he said.

Local cheese, baked goods, honey, soaps, crafts, sandwiches, and beverages will be sold along with pots, hanging baskets, and thousands of flats of plants.

Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the market will be filled with plants, flowers, yard art, food vendors, and a few craft sellers, said Madigan.

Rain barrels painted by Toledo School for the Arts students will be sold, as will Toledo-themed clothing and totes. Bluegrass, Celtic, and Americana music from 9 to 11:30 both Saturday and Sunday will be performed by the five-piece Cottonwood Jam String Band in the market's southern wing.

The little brown poultry house facing Market Street will be open each day, selling eggs, Ohio-made butter and cheese, poultry, and meat. Credit cards and Ohio Direction cards can be used at central processing tables (one is outside the market office near the rest rooms, the other is at the far east end).

Happily, the number of customers and vendors has steadily increased at the market because of the local-food trend, Madigan said. In the eight years he's managed the market, the number of vendors renting annual booths has increased from 38 to 63. And, $140,000 worth of improvements were completed this year, including renovated and expanded bathrooms and a new building for offices, meetings, and storage. The money was a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he noted.

Parking after 9 a.m. will be tough to find, so Madigan suggests wearing comfortable shoes and checking for free lots and street parking along South Erie Street and throughout the Warehouse District. However, you won't have to carry your purchases far. Boy Scouts will be on hand to take your items to a package pickup area near the Libbey Glass Outlet facing the market; customers should let the seller know they'd like assistance and they will be given a voucher.

Information: 419-255-6765 and toledofarmersmarket.com.

Contact Tahree Lane at 419-724-6075 or tlane@theblade.com.



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