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On the first day of the Bardstown Farmers Market’s spring season Saturday, a Bardstown-and-Toledo family is gathered around Fred Ronstadt’s table, looking at varieties of basil and noticing their different scents.
Ronstadt, a regular at the market on East Flaget, is a self-described hobby farmer who grows herbs and cacti in an apartment on his farm on Hubbard Lane. He was one of the few vendors there Saturday, but he’s looking forward to the spring and summer season.
“I’ve already got customers asking for stuff. I’m happy about that,” he said.
His last customers of the first day were Glennyce Wood of Bardstown and her son, Alex, and their Ohio relatives, Amy Olson and her daughters, Ella and Audra Olson, and the children’s grandfather, Larry Olson.
Ronstadt passes around a pot with Napolitano basil for the visitors to smell.
“I’ve got lime, lemon, Thai — I’ve got all kinds of them,” he said.
One of Ronstadt’s specialties is painted gourds, and he already has people ordering them, he said.
At the market Saturday were Nora Ballard of Loretto Road, who was selling onions, cabbage and eggs and Hannah Thomas of Fallen Maple Farm near Elizabethown, who had jams and jellies.
Others selling were Wayne Lyvers and Apple Fegenbush.
“It’s been a kind of slow opening day,” Thomas said But once the market is open three days a week, and word gets around that it’s open, business will pick up, she added.
This week the market will again be open only on Saturday, but beginning May 2, it will be open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Oct. 31.
Local vendors will sell fresh produce, herbs, flowers and other decorative plants, fresh meats and eggs, baked goods, preserves, fruits, berries and honey.
More than 30 vendors have signed up to participate.
“There are a lot of new vendors this year … with new products. That’s exciting,” said Dayna Parrett, family and consumer sciences agent for the Nelson County Cooperative Extension Office, which coordinates the market. “It should be a good season.”
Parrett said the Extension Service will be trying something different this year. Each week, there will be themed days, such as Fresh Ideas Fridays and Community Service Saturdays.
Parrett will be there on Fridays with tastings and recipes, she said, and Robbie Smith, the agent for horticulture, is lining up participants for community service projects, such as a food drive.