The strangely cold May weather didn’t do our recently planted heirloom tomatoes much good, but on the bright side, the chilly days and nights have left us with rows and rows of sweet, tender and beautiful mixed lettuces. Our lettuce mix tastes great and provides an equally appealing feast for the eyes, with its multi-textured palette of bright yellow-green, deep burgundy, and speckled red. Harvested and distributed on the same day, we’re proud to offer lettuces that are at their peak of freshness – cool, crisp, and high in sugar content. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Important CSA Reminder: Beginning May 14, our Tuesday distributions will move to the Oxford City Market on West Oxford Loop. Also, please return your empty boxes each week for us to re-use and in return we’ll give you a new one filled with farm-fresh goodness!
To Market, To Market
OXCM’s Katie Morrison at UM Sustainability Fair
We kicked-off the season last Saturday with a great first market at Mid-Town – 15 vendors and lots of customers enjoyed a chilly but sunny morning surrounded by flowers, veggies, fresh baked goods, and the infectious fun of Love Cannon. We’re looking forward to this Saturday at Mid-Town and will be at the new Oxford City Market for its opening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14. We caught up with OXCM coordinator Katie Morrison to get the low down on this new addition to the local food scene.
What is your long term “vision” for the Oxford City Market? My personal vision for the market is to establish the largest farmers market in North Mississippi. I think that by operating on non-traditional market days, we can attract more farmers from around the region so that we can provide ample supply for the customer demand here in Oxford. People in Oxford are used to and enjoy doing things differently; having an afternoon market on different days isn’t a jump. I can’t wait for the day when we have our ideal location locked in, and we have hundreds of families gathered with our farmers on the grass, in the shade, listening to music, attending cooking and gardening demonstrations, and feasting their eyes — and their pocketbooks — on row after row of produce and food vendors. It may take awhile to build that vision, but I’m determined to get us there.
Why are good farmers markets important to community building and enhancing local culture? You know, these days we are all so busy, and in an era of email and text message, we actually have to make concerted efforts to connect to our neighbors in a personal way. Luckily, we all have to eat so we all have to shop, so why not kill two birds with one stone and connect with your neighbors while you buy food for your family? The bonuses are many: local food just picked from the farm is more nutritious, tastes better, supports our local economy, and is more environmentally sound as it doesn’t have to be shipped in from parts unknown. Plus, it’s a great way to engage your senses — and your children — because you can find things you don’t find at a typical big box grocery store: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, watermelon radishes, duck eggs, and much, much more. Local is a beautiful thing on every level.
What’s your favorite part of your job as market coordinator? Definitely promoting the aspects of living local. I hope our market reminds people of all the benefits of disconnecting from the internet, work, television or other distractions and connecting into the community. We’ll give people some gentle nudges to get their family and friends together to cook and eat, hang at the market and meet other like-minded folks, put their hands in the dirt, support local farms and businesses, and try new things. I also really enjoy the challenge of incorporating valuable programmatic efforts like accepting EBT and credit cards, and acting on behalf of farmers and vendors to navigate all of the regulations from the USDA and the Mississippi Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce. Hopefully our market can be a weighty force that helps tear down some of the regulatory encumbrances that keep us from being able to easily buy some products locally.
Are you finding that Oxford residents are increasingly demanding locally grown food? Absolutely. Oxonians are supporting new farms and their CSAs, buying so much local milk that Billy Ray Brown keeps running out of bottles, the Farmers Market store Liz Coppola owns and the BTC Grocery in Water Valley get busier and busier, and the response to the news that we are opening the Oxford City Market on the west side of town has gotten tremendous praise from people across town, but especially in the Wellsgate, Royal Oaks, and Woodlawn neighborhoods. I’m also excited about the progress that the Oxford School District’s “Good Food for Oxford Schools” (GFOS) program is making in their efforts to introduce local food into the cafeterias and also educate kids about where food comes from. The partnerships between Yokna Bottoms Farm, GFOS, Oxford City Market, and other local farms, restaurants and organizations reminds folks about how tasty local food is, and that it is better for us. We will also be partnering with local agencies and other organizations at the state and national level to help get local produce into the hands of the traditionally underserved.
How can the community get involved in making OXCM successful? As the market grows, we will be rolling out new programming and initiatives, and will definitely need lots of volunteers to make these successful. We will have programming aimed at children, parents, seniors, and everyone in-between that ties local food to health and nutrition, shopping economically, cooking for the family or for one, and growing your own food in your window sill or your backyard. We want all the recommendations and ideas that anyone has about the kinds of programming they’d like to see, as well as volunteers to conduct these demonstrations. But mostly, we just want people to come and shop and engage with our famers. And we’ll have items for CSA’ers too – even if you get your CSA delivered, we hope you’ll stop by the market and see what other vendors have to offer — baked breads, fresh eggs, local meat, and beautiful cut flowers. We’ll even have local dog treats! We are making this a market for the people, by the people — it will be the consumers’ input that determines the ultimate direction of this market as we grow. We are wide open, and want to make this the market Oxonians have been dreaming about.
Mamma Jamma Fundraiser
9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9
Friend of the farm and tireless student environmental organizer/activist Taylor Cook’s got a new cause: her mom. Taylor’s mom needs a life-saving surgery and to raise funds to help with expenses she’s organized Mamma Jamma featuring Zak Tillotson and the ever-righteous Silas Reed n’ Da Books.
Taylor said, “For those of you that don’t know, my mom has been fighting a life long battle with lupus and needs surgery. Our family doesn’t have the money to pay for it so I’m raising it the best way I can think of-listening to good music and drinking beer.”
There’s no better way to spend your last Thursday in Oxford than drinking for a good cause! $5 Cover