June marks the 40th anniversary of Jim’s Farmers Market at the Roundhouse on Grant Street. So, Jim’s is celebrating with a birthday party on  June 16, 4 PM-5PM. Everyone is invited! Get in on the fun of a Scavenger Hunt and win $100 in Market Money. Try Jim’s Trivia, starting at 4 PM. Correct answers win $5 in Market Money. Cake and Happy Birthday will be at 4:45 PM. Jim’s will offer special giveaways throughout the day, including $10 in Market Money for all 40 year-olds born from June 16, 1982 to June 16 1983. The celebration rounds out with the Grant Street Food Fest from 3 PM to 8 PM with neighbors Remedy Park and GearHouse. It is a day packed with fun.

In forty years, a lot has happened at Jim’s Farmers Market. Here are forty facts to correlate to the forty years Jim’s Farmers Market has occupied the Railroad Roundhouse. The facts are interesting and a great way to get ready for the trivia contest.


  1. The name “Jim’s” is actually an acronym “J.I.M.” for the three founders: Jake Flaud, Ike Esh, and Martin Reese.
  2. Ike Esh started a farmers market in the Old Jail Courtyard in 1978 that became the precursor to Jim’s Farmers Market.
  3. Jim’s was founded in 1980 when Ike partnered with Jake and Martin and the three partners got together and rented the former Grant Street freight station at 251 Grant Street (former Grant Street Station restaurant).
  4. When Jim’s Farmers Market opened in April 1980, there were twelve vendors. Soon the number of vendors increased to thirty.
  5. Isaac Esh of Newburg was one of the first original vendors at Jim’s Country Market, moving from the Old Jail to the Grant Street site.
  6. When the farmers, who were vendors, moved from the Old Jail Courtyard to Grant Street, they all pitched in to install counters, shelving and tables at Jim’s Country Market.
  7. Jim’s moved to its current location in 1983 after a fire destroyed the first location in the Grant Street Station.
  8. After a fire destroyed the Market location in 1983, it only took 4 days to prepare a new location and move vendor booths to start up the market again in its new (and current) location.
  9. Jim’s is located in a former railroad roundhouse.
  10. The Roundhouse was built in 1918.
  11. Mister Ed was one of the original vendors at Jim’s in 1980, selling peanuts.
  12. Ike Esh’s family is still a pivotal part of the Market. Ike’s son and daughter-in-law, Pete and Naomi, operate Esh’s Meats and Cheeses.  Ike’s granddaughter, Marian, and her husband, Aaron, operate Country Heritage Kitchen
  13. Under the concrete floors of the Market are thick wooden “bricks” that were used as the flooring of the original roundhouse, apparently to lessen the odds of damaging locomotive parts if there were dropped or to lessen the likelihood of cracking the floor itself.
  14. There are large terra cotta pipes that run under the Market.  The original purpose is unknown, but they are currently used as plumbing chases.
  15. Behind the tin panels on the fronts and sides of the buildings are large window openings that would have let lots of natural light into the building originally.
  16. The inside ceilings of the building are actually more than twice as high as customers see.  The ceiling customers see is a sub-structure that was built inside the Roundhouse to control heat and to mount lighting.
  17. There are still some railroad tracks visible in the back storage area of the building.
  18. There used to be a large turntable behind the building (in the back parking lot) that would be used to spin locomotives and cars around.  When the parking lot is empty, one can see the circular depression of where the turntable was filled.
  19. Jim’s has been called “Jim’s Farmers Market,” Jim’s Country Farmers Market,” “Jim’s Country Market,” and is now back to “Jim’s Farmers Market.”
  20. When the Grant Street Station burned in 1983 local residents remember balls of fire and explosions that resulted from propane tanks exploding.
  21. Three firefighters were injured in the fire.
  22. The fire was determined to be arson.
  23. To get the Market up and running within the same week of the fire, community members volunteered and came out to help the vendors clean the vacant roundhouse, build booths, and be open for business by that Friday.
  24. During the Civil War, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart raided and set fire to the Cumberland Valley roundhouse and railroad shops, the predecessors of the roundhouse that is home to Jims Farmers Market.
  25. Following Stuart’s Raid, the workers of the Cumberland Valley Railroad repaired the engine, and it returned to work pulling passengers and freight until 1890 when it was stored at the Cumberland Valley Railroad yard in Chambersburg. The Cumberland Valley Railroad yard is the site of Jim’s Farmers Market.
  26. When Jim’s Farmers Market opened in 1980, a shopper spending $6 would need to have $22 to purchase the same today.
  27. A February 1981 ad for Jim’s Market advertising Tri-Clean Liquid Embroidery; lunch meats, cheese, and eggs; fresh pork, beef, and seafood; home baked pies and cakes; ceramics and dishes; fresh fruits and vegetables; hoagies and snack bar; gold and silver purchasing, homemade candy; dipped ice cream and Stick’s chips and pretzels; Kerosun heaters; natural snacks; handmade crafts and quilts; Frey’s milk; Barton’s donuts, and seasonal floral creations.
  28. Jim’s Farmers Market joined Agway, W&W Wholesalers, L.K. McKenzie Petroleum Products, J. J. Tanner, Inc., Iron Masters Golf Shop, Grant Street Station, Sears, Roebuck & Co., Domino’s Pizza, and Whalen Motors as the 2nd & Grant Street Shopping Area to wish the public “the happiest of holidays.”
  29. Throughout 1985—the 5th anniversary of Jim’s Farmer’s Market—the market had special live broadcasts by WCBG radio from 2-4 PM. Also, they had “blue light specials” throughout the market.
  30. The Amish and Mennonite communities, both Anabaptist groups, have been part of the Jim’s Market tradition from the beginning.
  31. Farmers Markets like Jim’s attract people who want to support the local economy, want to know the person who grew the food they are going to eat, and want to have the nutrition of fresh food.
  32. Jim’s Farmers Market allows growers to sell directly to the public, taking out the middlemen to save on packaging and distribution costs.
  33. In DATE, Jim’s Country Farmers’ Market advertised “We’re cookin’ apple butter.” Dates of the apple-butter making were October 28 and October 29. The public was encouraged to “bring your own jar.”
  34. In 1997, weekly rental of an 8-feet stand was $15.
  35. Ike and Nancy Eash retired from the Market at the end of 2005/beginning of 2006.
  36. In 2008, the people of Jim’s Market wanted a project to benefit the community, so quilters got together to all make the quilt. The quilt was auctioned off to benefit House of Grace, a local mentoring and education program to help women.
  37. Brian and Leanne Zoeller bought Jim’s Farmers Market in September 2022, making what is old, new again.
  38. Farmers markets have a long tradition. World civilizations with farmers markets date back to 5000 BC. In Chambersburg, the market used to be in the center of town. Then, the market moved to the Market House at the corner of 2nd and Queen; today the location is the Borough Hall.
  39. Farmers markets are about fresh food and equally so, about community. Vendors, growers, and the shopping public all come together week after week. Farmers markets are their own neighborhoods.
  40. Jim’ Farmers Market is having a birthday party on June 16 to celebrate 40 years at the Roundhouse!