BUSINESS

Oxford Community Market helps community in several different ways

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Some vegetables from Yokna Bottoms Farm.

Charles Sleeper
Oxford Stories
cpsleepe@go.olemiss.edu

Oxford Community Market is a grass roots farmer’s market that spreads great local food throughout the entire Oxford community.  It is held twice a week on Tuesday (from 3-7 p.m.) and Saturday (from 7 a.m. to noon) at the Old Armory Pavilion on the corner of University Avenue and Bramlett Blvd.

“This farmer’s market is in a perfect location – at a major intersection in Oxford, on the bus line, handicapped access, restrooms, electricity, shelter from rain, fans and shade for the summer, and a playground nearby for kids,” said Doug Davis, a board member of the Oxford Community Market and owner of Yokna Bottoms Farm, describing the market. “It has a large group of consistent vendors, a nice variety of produce, meats, breads, honey – a whole wide range of different products.”

A number of the market’s high quality vendors also provide fresh, locally grown or created foods to The Pantry, the local food shelf for needy families. This helps The Pantry provide fresh food that it otherwise might not be able to offer.

“A lot of the CSA members I’ve seen – if they have extra lettuce, or, you know, if they have too much kale, they believe, at home, then when they are leaving, they will pass by The Pantry donations, and they’ll just put lettuce or kale into the crates,” said local farmer Chastity McGee. “Some have donated carrots. Actually, I’ll have CSA members say, ‘Oh, I forgot to donate to the Pantry today, so let me get some sweet potatoes or more lettuce or something like that.'”

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Some of the vegetables on display from Native Son Farm.

McGee is a farmer from Native Son Farm in Tupelo.  She said Native Son Farm is a 24-acre multi-farm based around the premise of community-supported agriculture, or CSA for short.

A CSA is a system in which people sign up with a farm to buy a portion of their crop, similar to a cooperative. McGee said CSA members come by and take their share of fresh veggies each week, and the rest of the crop is open for the public.

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Some of the delicious bread baked by Seventh Day Farm.

The Oxford Community Market offers a wide variety of foods, from authentic kimchi to home-baked loafs of bread.

“It’s a good market,” said vendor Stark Aldridge. “You have good traffic and things sell pretty well. It’s been a good day. I sold a lot of my fresh eggs and some jellies.”

Aldridge has a full stall with jars of homemade jelly and baskets of his fresh eggs.  He has a vast selection of jellies on display, including raspberry, blackberry, Fuji apple, and locally picked muscadine.  The breadth of quality goods available at this farmers’ market really helps draw customers, and provides for The Pantry.

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Authentic, homemade kimchi and other tasty morsels displayed at Julie’s Korean Cooking stall.

“We do notice people buying food to donate to The Pantry,” said said Doug Davis of Yokna Bottoms Farm. “I’d say about three to four times a market, someone out right says they are buying something for The Pantry. When we know this, we always try to throw in extra to really help what they are spending on it go a little further.

“In terms of our farm, we always have to bring extra to market,” Davis said. “It takes a lot of a wide variety of product to keep the table stocked throughout the entire market.  It’s a wonderful thing to just donate our excess food we bring to The Pantry. We would turn it into compost and use it, but it is much better to donate to the community.”

Yokna Bottoms Farm is another local CSA-based farm helping to spread fresh, healthy food throughout the Oxford community.

“We just want the community to know about us,” said Davis. “It’s good to get the word out. This is a good market that helps the community in a lot of different ways.  Not only does it support local, small, mom and pop businesses, but it also does its small part in providing fresh food to those who probably need it most. This market is certainly worth checking out, and it is one of the more fun and tastier ways to help folks all across the Oxford community.”

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Enthusiastic shopper at the Yokna Bottoms Farm’s stall.

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