–by Jen Ruple
PUBLICATION DATE: OCT 01, 2020
Meet Devon Shaw, the newest farmer to join in at the Sylvania Farmers Market. Owner of The Soul Patch, Shaw specializes in growing houseplants, succulents and annuals at his greenhouse on Soul Road in Swanton. Each Tuesday through October 13, Shaw will bring his display of fall décor including Mums, pumpkins, gourds, ornamental cabbages and houseplants to the market.
The entrepreneurial-spirited Shaw became interested in the profession through his grandparents. “I was always around my grandparents’ greenhouses. They grew vegetables on their 40 acres and had farm stands,” explained Shaw.
Shaw started out on his career path at age 16, selling homegrown vegetables and eggs to classmates in high school. Five years later, he has completed a horticultural program in greenhouse management at OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio, built a 3,000 square foot greenhouse on his grandparents’ property, provides wholesale plants to area garden centers, and is participating at four farmers markets a week.
“I was opened up to a whole new world at ATI,” said Shaw. “It was a very hands-on experience where I learned how plants grow and the nutrients they need. They give you all the nuts and bolts on how to operate a greenhouse, take care of crops and sell them later.”
At that point, Shaw decided it was plants he
was most interested in. “I wasn’t that into growing vegetables, but I fell in love with growing plants,” he remarked.
Shaw participates in four farmers markets this season – Toledo, Westgate, Perrysburg, and now Sylvania. He plans to add a fifth market next season. When the summer markets are over, you will find Shaw at Toledo’s year-round farmers market selling houseplants and succulents. Starting after Thanksgiving, he will offer holiday greens – roping, wreaths, and grave blankets. “My biggest goal is to is keep expanding and growing more plants; there’s a lot of work and business to be done out there.”