Market  //  Ilion Farmers' Market

About the Manager

Interview with Jim Parker

What interested you in becoming a Farmers’ Market Manager?
“I am a farmer. For years I had been selling retail cider/vinegar and maple syrup form my farm. I had two big dairy barns on my farm not being used at the time and had them restored. The State Ag and Mkt. required all cider makers to install UV pasteurization. I received a grant to do this and I expanded my cider business. I also teach Art in Amish and Mennonite schools and had gotten to know all of the Amish and Mennonite families in the area. I realized they needed a market similar to what they have in Pennsylvania and Ohio. We started with six outdoor vendors three years ago and it was well received. As we renovated we converted our barns into an indoor all year farmers’ market. The center barn is a woodworking barn. The big barn houses 12 Amish and 2 Mennonite and 8 non Amish farmers and craftspeople. The market is open on Fridays and Saturdays for 52 weeks per year.”

What do you enjoy most about your market?
“I enjoy the mixture of exhibitors and how they contribute to helping improve the market. They are always building and adding new things to improve the market. I also enjoy giving children the opportunity to walk through and see a historic farm and barns. Many children do not get the opportunity to visit farms now days and this is a great opportunity for them to see. My wife Hilda and I enjoy the social aspect of helping people make an income.”

What plans do you have for the future of your market?
“We are in the process of connecting our three barns with outdoor tents that vendors will sit under. This will connect the cider mill with our two other vendor buildings and will add 6 new vendors. I would like to make our farm a tourist destination but not an overwhelming one. We have weekly events running all year long from Antique truck shows to Apple Blossom Weekend. I am constantly working on new ideas to bring the public to our market.”

Do you have any special interests, skills, hobbies?
“I cover a 7 county area as a folk artist. I have created over 400 paintings recreating villages for Bi-Centennial events, Historic events and chamber of commerce events. I am currently working on a painting of Frankfort in the 1850’s. I have been painting for 28 years.”

Are there any other things that you would like to share about yourself?
“I teach Art in the local Amish and Mennonite schools and Watercolor classes in Little Falls and Clinton.”

In your own words, why do you feel that your market is important to Herkimer County and its resident’s?
“It offers a retail outlet for all of these farmers and craftsman that they wouldn’t have otherwise. We are giving children the opportunity to see an actual historic farm and barns.”

Top Contact The Market

Get in touch with the Market Manager

The Market Manager is Jim Parker. To request information or ask a question about this market, email or call (315) 894-4660.