History & Mission

Welcome to the Ithaca Farmers Market. We are a member-run cooperative with more than 160 active members who grow or produce their wares within 30 miles of our Ithaca pavilion. We have three categories of vendors: agriculture, food and artisan, and each business you see at our market has been through an application and jurying process to guarantee quality.

You’ll find a full spread at the market with something for everyone —a variety of eat-on-site and take-out entrées, baked goods and beverages to delight every taste, as well as fresh produce, free-range eggs, meat and cheese, specialty foods, and fine art and crafts. You can picnic on-site, or pick up fixin’s to go for a party or picnic.

On Saturdays and Sundays from April through December, we are located in a beautiful park on the Cayuga Lake waterfront, selling local products from an award-winning covered pavilion. We also operate three other markets within the City of Ithaca to better serve our neighborhoods. In addition, from January through March our winter market operates out of The Space, Greenstar’s event space. We are your year-round destination for local.

Ithaca Farmers Market Mission Statement

The Ithaca Farmers Market operates year-round from its anchor Steamboat Landing location, a community space and tourism destination, supplemented by satellite neighborhood markets. The Market emphasizes a direct connection between producer and consumer, and promotes and strengthens local agriculture. The Market features sustainable practices and a diverse array of farm products, crafts, and prepared foods, all produced within a 30 mile radius of its waterfront site.

Vision Statement

The Ithaca Farmers Market is known for its high-quality, locally produced goods, commitment to the community, and as a joyful and vibrant gathering place and destination. The Market is financially sustainable, governed cooperatively by its members, and is a key contributor to the local and regional economy.

History

Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, the market pavilion is situated in a garden-like setting, and is surrounded by trees and flowering plants. On the waterfront where steamboats from Cayuga Lake used to dock, the Ithaca Farmer’s Market has successfully anchored itself and has transformed a wasteland into Steamboat Landing. Built entirely by volunteer labor, the market has developed a former debris site into a beautiful, thriving community gathering place. Visitors can shop for fresh, local produce, or choose a handcrafted gift. They can listen to music while savoring a wide variety of international foods, and sitting at the picnic tables along the waterfront.

The market first opened for business on Saturdays in 1973 as a venue for local growers, craftspeople and food vendors to sell their goods. The rapidly expanding market moved five times before settling in its current location. It opened a midweek market at the edge of Dewitt Park, in downtown Ithaca, and then added a Sunday market at Steamboat Landing. More recently a Wednesday afternoon market at East Hill Plaza and a Thursday night market at the pavilion were added.  A dock was built to accommodate local fishermen, people arriving by boat, and those who want a picturesque picnic spot.

The Ithaca farmer’s Market has continued to grow and prosper, often attracting well over 5,000 people a day.  Today over 160 vendors sell at one or all of the five market days. What was originally an innovative way to sell local produce, crafts, and baked goods is now an Ithaca tradition.

Timeline

1973-IFM opens on space near Agway.

1974-IFM moves to old airport runway near Hangar Theater.

1975-IFM moves to empty lot in Ithaca’s West End, erects rough frame structure.

1976– IFM opens midweek market on Ithaca Commons.

1985– IFM mid-week market moves to Dewitt Park.

1987– IFM market cooperative incorporates.

1988– IFM  leaves the West End and moves to a parking lot at Cornell, then to an empty lot on Ithaca’s North Side and finally relocates to its current site and construction begins.

1988-The market pavilion, styled after a 13th century European cathedral, is completed.

1990-Sunday market opens.

1996-First Rutabaga Curl is held at Ithaca Farmers Market.

1997– IFM dock was constructed.

1998-IFM celebrates its 25 year anniversary, Easy Entry program begins, and the flooring is completed.

2000 -IFM launches web initiative.

2003-IFM celebrates its 30th anniversary.

2004– Thursday afternoon markets begin at the pavilion.

2009-Winter market starts at the Women’s Community Center.

2009-Thursday afternoon market starts at Dewitt Park.

2010-IFM starts a Facebook page.

2010-Ithaca Farmers’ Market signs a 20 year lease at Steamboat Landing.

2011-Ithaca Farmers’ Market is voted #2 Farmers’ Market in New York State.

2010-The Waterfront Trail connecting the Ithaca Farmers’ Market to Stewart Park is completed.

2012-Wednesday afternoon market starts across from East Hill Plaza.

2012-The winter market moves to The Space @ Greenstar.

2013-The winter market season is extended an extra month thereby making the IFM a year-round market.

2013-Ithaca Farmers’ Market makes #9 on list of 101 Best Farmers’ Markets in America.

2013-IFM celebrates its’ 40th anniversary.