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The Hardin County Farmers Market presents its local take on garden-grown produce again starting this weekend.
President Brenda Thomas said the market is set to return Saturday at its permanent location on Peterson Drive. It is open from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturdays for the remainder of the month, she said.
Thomas said the market primarily will sell lettuce and other greens, onions, plants, jams and jellies and baked goods during the first few weeks of operation with a focus on early vegetables. Thomas still is waiting to hear from one vendor, so more items might be available this month.
The Farmers Market returns to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday sales once the weather improves and fresh strawberries are available, she said.
“Last year, it was early,” she said.
However, she expects the full opening to roll out the second week of May.
She is not necessarily expecting any new items to pop up, but vendors have until June 1 to apply for membership to the Farmers Market, she said. At least 25 vendors are offering their goods for sale this year.
Once fully opened, there will be a variety of farm fresh foods available. To start, she said, vendors will sell spinach, cabbage, broccoli, squash, tomatoes and okra. The market also features a selection of fruits and berries, such as blueberries, and vendors selling locally raised beef and pork.
Thomas said excitement about the Farmers Market’s return has circulated for several weeks.
“I’ve been getting calls since the first of March, so people are ready,” she said.
When asked what items residents are most itching for, she did not hesitate.
“They’re looking for some fresh vegetables,” she said.
The Farmers Market typically is open from 7 a.m. to noon during the peak season, with production winding down in October. Thomas said the market is toying with the idea of expanding its Thursday hours this year and posted a poll on its Facebook page asking customers if they would welcome afternoon or evening hours. Most who voted and commented indicated the option of evening hours would greatly benefit those who work and cannot attend morning sessions.
When asked why those who have never visited the Farmers Market should, Thomas said the choice is preferable to what is offered in a grocery store because consumers can directly interact with those who have grown the vegetables or personally raised the meat.
“Fresh and local is always better,” she said. “The quality is so much better than what you get in the supermarket because they have to bring it so far.”
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.