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Oxford City Market Kicks Off Fourth Season

12049612_823089394455956_5246043395674220052_nThe Oxford City Market is getting ready to kick off its fourth season of offering a variety of fresh, locally grown and handmade foods to the Oxford community.

Beginning Tuesday, April 19, at 3 p.m., the farmers market will be held at its new location in the Oxford Pavilion, on the corner of University Ave and Bramlett Blvd.

“Our OXCM veteran vendors are ready to go with spring produce plus fresh eggs, baked goods, homemade popsicles, Kombucha, seafood, local meats and more,” said market director Betsy Chapman.

Throughout the coming year, the market will feature a variety of vendors, produce, meats, baked goods, crafts and cooking demos for the whole family. The market’s ultimate mission, according to Chapman, “is to make locally grown and produced food accessible to all members of the community.”

One of the ways the market attempts to provide access to local foods to everyone is by accepting SNAPS (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or food stamps, at the market. By partnering with AARP Foundation’s Fresh Savings Program, customers who receive SNAPS can use them to buy food at the market the same way they would at a grocery store. Chapman said customers can spend $1 or $100. Either way, they are welcome to enjoy everything the market has to offer.

Every Tuesday, from 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Community Pavilion, OXCM will have live music, educational demos and, of course, fresh, locally grown produce from a wide variety of farms and businesses throughout North Mississippi.

4182898562_cfcf720592_b_wide-300x200Yokna Bottoms Farms, located in Oxford, has worked with OXCM for several years in providing fresh, sustainable, locally grown and harvested food to the community.

“It’s been nothing but fun to create a local market place for the community,” said Yokna Bottoms farmer Graham Neeld. “We’ll have a larger variety [at the market]. We have the largest amount of produce that we’ve had in years.”

More than just a place to buy groceries, the farmers market is a place for the community to gather as well.

“It’s a community gather space where people can come to have fun and learn about the benefits of eating local food, and enjoy all the good things this town has to offer,” Chapman said.

Efforts to attract more customers “from all walks off life” have fostered more than just a place to get fresh food.

“Every week we’re going to have live music from live musicians and educational kids activities, sponsored by the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture network,” Chapman said.

On opening day, an educational demonstration, “kids in the kitchen,” will help customers and their families understand what food is available seasonally and locally, and give lessons on how to prepare meals with fresh, local produce.

Providing home grown and homemade goods, OXCM is making large strives in the community to make fresh nutritious and sustainable food more accessible to Oxford people.

12805803_899279316836963_7715015652404342105_nAccording to their website, Oxford City Market, maintains their mission to “foster community bonds, strengthen local economies, educate consumers, advocate farmers, and improve access to fresh, healthy, local, and sustainable goods for all citizens.”

In case you needed any more reasons to buy local, Chapman said food that is grown locally is sold at the market the day it is harvested, at peak quality, freshness, flavor and nutritional value.

Not to mention, “by buying local you are investing your food dollars back into the com-munity and its local businesses,” Chapman said.

For more information on the Oxford City Market or becoming a vendor, check out Oxford City Market’s website, on Facebook or contact director Betsy Chapman directly betsychapman@oxfordms.net.

Cecily Lane is a senior print journalism major at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached at clane@go.olemiss.edu.

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