If the gentle vinegar scent doesn't capture shoppers' attention, then the impressive line of white plastic buckets, each brimming with snappy looking pickles, definitely will.

Pickle-making started as a hobby for George St. Martin, but after a few years it turned into a sideline for his olives-and-olive-oil retail business. Farmers market shoppers have benefited ever since.

St. Martin started simple, with basic kosher-style dills. "And from there we went crazy," he said. No kidding. Words like "hot garlic," "curry," "mustard," "harissa," "ginger," "jalapeƱo" and "three pepper" find their way into the mix of nearly two dozen varieties, alongside standards such as bread-and-butters, sweet gherkins and thick-cut, dill-flecked slices that seemed destined to land on a hot-off-the-grill hamburger.

But St. Martin isn't a farmer. "No, that would kill me," he said with a laugh. Currently he's buying from outstate sources, although as the growing season progresses he'll turn to local farmers for cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables.

He's constantly innovating, too. "I'm going to give Kool-Aid pickles a whirl this summer," he said. "It'll be fun for the kids." And for grown-ups? "I'm working on a pickled tomato," he said. "It's still in R&D until I figure it out."

Story and photo by RICK NELSON

George St. Martin's pickles ($3 to $4.50 per half pound), Minneapolis Farmers Market, Nicollet Mall at 9th St., Mpls., www.mplsfarmersmarket.com, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays. For pickle recipes, go to startribune.com/tabletalk.