We may be called Edible Cleveland but we make it a point to tell you about hidden gems all over Northeast Ohio. A short drive south is an especially good idea because it’s time for Crown Point Ecology Center’s annual organic plant sale on May 11-12 and May 18-19 at the historic farmstead at 3220 Ira Road in Bath (just beyond the southwest border of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park). The event will be held regardless of the fickle weather—so dress for the elements if necessary.
Marc Amante has been the farm manager at Crown Point since 2017 and he’s hopeful more Clevelanders will discover their annual sale where more than 250 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers will be availalable to purchase at great pricing. Crown Point Ecology Center is the area’s largest local producer of certified organic plants. “About 95% of our plants are grown on site from seed,” Marc said.
Marc gets especially excited about the tomatoes, adding “we don’t just have a few tomatoes, we have 60 varieties!” Don’t settle for any ol’ tomato when you could pick up some more unusual varieties like Black Cherry, Speckled Roman, or the Echo, a grape tomato extra high in beta-carotene (a beneficial antioxidant) that’s been cultivated through the Open Source Seed Initiative and unlikely to be found anywhere else in the area.
Dr. David Francis, a professor of horticulture and crop science at The Ohio State University, will participate in the event again. He’s so knowlegeable about tomatoes he’s earned the nickname “The Tomato Doctor” and he will gladly offer advice based on the tomatoes you choose for your garden.
A selection of annual and native perennial flowers, organic compost and fertilizer, and garden supplies will be available for purchase.
Crown Point Ecology Center is the kind of place you might miss if you’re not looking. The 115 acre site has an expansive organic farm, greenhouses, woodlands and is developing a native prairie garden to support pollinators and support animal habitats. Once a private farmstead, the property was purchased by the Dominican Sisters of Peace in 1967 and used as a retreat center and preschool and, eventually a mission-focused farm and ecology center.
The property remains a place where spirituality goes hand-in-hand with caring for the earth and its people. “We try to connect spirituality to ecology, farming and social justice,” said Monique Bongue-Bartlesman, Crown Point’s executive director. Crown Point puts values into action through the First Fruits Initiative. The center has grown produce for the Akron-Canton regional foodbank since 1997 and donates plants to community garden projects. Crown Point also has a CSA program and offers participants an easy way to make donations to the Akron-Canton Foodbank. Numerous education programs are offered for those interested in sustainable agriculture and the facility offers its beautiful, tranquil spaces for retreats and gatherings.
Crown Point Ecology Center members get first dibs on all plant sale items on May 10. The full list of items for sale is extensive and can be found here. For more information, visit crownpointecology.org.