The 54 half-pints of freshly made apple butter went quickly today on the first day of Petal & Plants' fall harvest sale.
"I tasted it myself, very good," said Malena Morales, a junior from Genoa in the floral design and greenhouse production program at Penta Career Center.
The retail store on the school's Perrysburg Township campus, Buck Road, was still chock full of seasonal arrangements, Halloween decor, and pumpkins, in addition to its regular stock of flowers, plants, garden-themed gifts, Carruth Studio artwork, jewelry, candles, and stuffed animals.
The fall sale also featured trees and shrubs tended by Penta students in the landscape and turf management program.
Petals & Plants is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every school day throughout the year. The fall sale continues Friday, and all proceeds benefit the career technical courses, said Karen Prymicz, an instructional aide.
Jennifer Lewis, of Bowling Green, purchased planters of mums specifically to direct funds to the program. "I wanted to come and support Penta," she said.
Ms. Lewis is an elementary school counselor in the Rossford school district, and she said several Rossford students go on to study at the vocational school.
Popular items at the fall sale were metal cut-out silhouettes of ghosts, bats, and pumpkins on yard spikes that brought three school programs together, Ms. Prymicz said.
The pieces were constructed in welding, painted in auto collision repair, and displayed by floral retail. "We're going to have to make some more of those," she said.
Desiree Symington, a senior floral student from Rossford, was doing her best to keep up with the flow of business on the cash register.
"It gives you real-life experience working with customers," she said.
Students rotate through the retail store as part of their coursework. Miss Morales said her class spends each week concentrating on a different area; currently they are learning to identify the dozens of parts that go into an irrigation system.
"This week is horrible," she admitted.
She said she much preferred the week they learned how to arrange dish gardens, with the aesthetic appeal of varied plant heights in a creative container. She was particularly excited to put plants in a yellow ceramic container in the shape of a duck.
"I have a pet duck at home," she said. The duck dish garden is on sale for $8.
Fresh-cut arrangements in the refrigerated case sell in a range of $5 to about $20, depending on the type and count of stem, Ms. Prymicz said. She said some of the containers were donated or recycled. "We try to be green," she said.
The store also is intentional about featuring local artists and producers, she said. For the fall sale, Lynn Hanely, of Millbury, made beaded brooches that looked like decorative ears of corn with real stalk leaves, as well as little fabric pumpkins.
Petals & Plants sells items from Penta staff members, too. Ryan Thomas, an instructor in the manufacturing and transportation program, carved small wooden boxes, flower presses, and Celtic-knot hair bun picks. Nature photography by Bill Tucholski, career services coordinator, is printed on ready-to-frame mats and note cards.
Much of the living nature in the store comes from elsewhere because students are not in session in the summer to tend plants. "They kind of need drinks of water," Ms. Prymicz quipped.
The plants students use in their arrangements come from Lakewood Greenhouse in Northwood, and the pumpkins at the fall sale were grown on the Getz Brothers Farm in Bowling Green.
For the winter holiday sale, though, the poinsettias will be Penta-grown, said Jim Henline, agriculture supervisor.
Long rows of the traditional plant are sitting in the greenhouse, which has to be darkened for 12 hours a day to properly grow them, Mr. Henline said.
Potted as tiny starter plants in late August, the poinsettias are green now, but will have some red leaves -- often mistaken for flower petals -- in time for the sale Nov. 29-30.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786.