Fresh vendors for Sunday's Farmers Market in Catonsville

The old and the new will be on display as Catonsville's Sunday Farmers Market opens on the parking lot near the Friendly's restaurant along Catonsville's Main Street May 6.

The market will have 17 or 18 regular vendors, most of whom are returning from last year's series, along with some part-time vendors, according to Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce which hosts the market.

One of the parttime vendors will be Boordy Vineyards, which will have a stand at the opening, and return for another date in May and one in September, Cary said.

A law signed by Gov.Martin O'Malleylast May allows vintners to sell bottles of wine, but not individual servings, at farmers markets as often as 12 times a year in Baltimore County and any other county that has passed the legislation permitting it.

Among the new participants to the market, which will operate until November this year, are two operated by Catonsville residents.

The Corner Spore, which Jeffrey Schatz began operating out of his house on Edmondson Ridge Road only a few months ago, will sell a variety of mushrooms.

"We're doing several species of fresh edible mushrooms and we're also doing ready-to-grow blocks and logs," Schatz said, explaining that the blocks and logs come inoculated with mushrooms for consumers to grow their own.

"This is our first big venture," he said. "We studied the market a little bit and pretty much saw a gaping hole for gourmet edibles."

Schatz said he has studied mushrooms for 10 years and decided to run his business as he continued his research into the alternative uses of the edible fungus.

The 1993 Catonsville High School graduate has examined how to extract ethanol from mushrooms and which fungi attract bees, which could lead to providing a natural way of pollinating a garden.

Schatz sells many of the mushrooms he grows to Hampden restaurants Woodberry Kitchen and Corner BYOB.

"We needed a venue to sell our product basically," Schatz said. of "It's also right up the street from us, so we saw that as the perfect venue."

Another newcomer will be Nonni's Pies and Tarts. The stall, operated by Catonsville resident Rebecca Quinn, will sell baked goods.

And when the Farmers Market opens for its third season at 730 Frederick Road this Sunday, it will have company.

The chamber of commerce's inaugural Catonsville Flower Fest and Garden Party will make its debut about 400 feet away from the market on Egges Lane.

Event attractions will include demonstrations from master gardeners, flowers and bedding plants for sale, crafters selling flower-themed items, food, live music and a spring bonnet contest.

"The chamber wants to do everything it can to promote the beautification of Catonsville," Cary said.

Cary said the new event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., has the potential to benefit area businesses and raise funds for the chamber.

Reggie Sajauskas was a member of the chamber committee that began planning the event about five months ago.

"It's a perfect opportunity. They'll be able to order flowers to pick up right beforeMother's Day(May 13)," said Sajauskas, owner of Objects Found at 818 Frederick Road. "It'll be local, it'll be green and it's just great for Catonsville."

Cary said the chamber sifted through its list of vendors from its annual Catonsville Arts and Crafts Festival held in early fall and picked those that best matched the floral theme of the event.

"Mostly what we're going to be selling is concrete. We sell a lot of concrete for gardens," Sajauskas said of the benches and statuary that her store will sell.

"We're going to have a lot of jewelry that is floral related," Sajauskas said. "We're going to pick through our shop and anything that is floral will be out there that day."

Objects Found will also help judge the Spring Bonnet Contest that encourages people to dress up in their most outrageous and colorful bonnets.

Judges will award prizes for most beautiful, most theme-related and best bonnet for someone under the age of 12, Sajauskas said.

"I just think whatever people put into it, they're going to get out of it," Sajauskas said. "So people just need to show up, wearing their bonnets."

A successful event will help replace funding the chamber used to maintain its garden in front of its office at 924 Frederick Road and 40 planters along Frederick Road.

In addition to sales of vendor spots, the chamber will sell bedding plants and hanging baskets at the event.

The chamber had received $3,350 in Baltimore County Commercial Revitalization Action Grants for its planter program, Cary said.

But Baltimore County budget cuts discontinued those grants after June, she said.

"It's really kind of a combination. We want to certainly contribute to the beautification of Catonsville," Cary said. "But we also, because we're so close to Mother's Day, we want to combine it with a great idea to buy local for Mother's Day."

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