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It’s All About Community  

By Kathleen Amoia.

Fairies from the Glen Wood with market coordinators Karen Milano and Linda Dudek.

From a neglected farm property to a bustling community hub, Killingworth’s Parmelee Farm spans centuries. Originally a homestead for Eunice and Horace Parmelee in the mid-1800s, the property grew in time to include 132 acres. Over the years and several families, Parmelee served as a farm, a summer resort (There was a pool!) and a turkey farm. But times and needs change, and Parmelee found itself unused and in need of repair. The Town of Killingworth, with a vision for the future, purchased the property in 2000. In 2007, a few civic minded individuals came together and got approval to build a community garden. The gardens were well received and generated more interest from town organizations, officials, and citizens who saw the great potential this property held. That potential has been realized as a town resource and gathering place for all.

Of course, it took the formation of a committee and many hands coming together to create what you see today at 465 Route 81. There are trails to be enjoyed by casual walkers and serious hikers and their dogs. There are weddings, concerts, markets, and a shared harvest. School activities and Scout functions are held on the grounds. There are local non-profit events, maple sugaring, a corn crib, a schoolhouse, little free libraries, picnic tables and a modern public restroom open during all events. The original farmhouse is now the proud home of the Killingworth Historical Society and is frequently open to the public.

As weekly farm markets in the area became available, monthly  Parmelee farm market coordinators Karen Milano and Linda Dudek shifted their focus to a larger once a year Artisan Market, still retaining some of its farm market roots. The all-volunteer planning and work staff market is now one of the largest events held at the farm and has become known for quality local and statewide artisan vendors. The volunteer Fire Department serves food all day and proceeds from their sales support their rescue efforts. This year the market will host over 90 vendors with quite literally something for everyone including canine companions. Proceeds benefit the farm and support your talented neighbors.

Linda Dudek explains “While the Artisan Market involves months of planning and organizing, the result is gratifying. It’s a fun day of shopping, eating, visiting with friends and neighbors and enjoying the farm property. The volunteers that help pull the day together remind me of growing up in Killingworth when there were less than a thousand residents, and everyone pitched in to make good things happen.” Karen Milano adds “One of the most heartwarming things I witnessed in  the 32 years  I’ve lived in this community is the resurrection of Parmelee Farm through the efforts of so many community members including our local businesses. The Artisan Market is an extension of all that effort, the good [will be] evident on the grounds and in the camaraderie we witness throughout the day.”

The market is held rain or shine on the second Saturday of each September, this year falling on September 11th.  Open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., there are free shuttles for those who wish to use them available from the middle school next door and front of farm parking areas.  Admission is free.

Photograph provided by Karen Milano.


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