By Alyssa Schnugg
Spring is most definitely in the air and starting Tuesday, it can be on your dinner table as well.
The Oxford Community Marker’s Spring Kick-Off will be held from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Old Armory Pavilion.
For two years the farmer’s market has been held year-round, even during the coldest days of winter; however, the market goes into full bloom during the spring.
“We’ve had a great response to our second winter market season, and our goal is to have a market season that reflects our long growing season so that we can provide year-round direct sales opportunities for our farmers,” said Market Director Betsy Chapman. “But spring is when the market really starts rocking – more vendors, more quantity and variety of local produce.”
Market-goers can expect lots of beautiful strawberries plus lots of great spring produce including lettuces, carrots, asparagus, turnips, green onions, arugula, kale, collards, cabbages, herbs and more.
In addition to fresh produce, the market will feature local eggs, honey, pecans, grass-fed beef, jams, jellies, Gulf Coast shrimp, freshly roasted coffee, bread and other baked goods, frozen treats, cut flowers and plant starters.
Chapman said the market is easing its way back into hosting activities during market days with the COVID-19 pandemic still lurking.
“We are being mindful of the need to continue social distancing and other precautions to keep our community safe,” she said.
On Tuesday, the market will have live music with Joe Austin and Brian Sherman, fun giveaways from Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, MississippiCare and the Community Market, and a free seed giveaway from the North Mississippi Seed Library.
The market will be held from 3 to 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday throughout the spring, summer and fall at the pavilion.
SNAP shoppers are provided a dollar-for-dollar match up to $20.
The Community Market is in its fifth season operating as the Oxford Community Market, or OXCM.
“Local food businesses thrive when farmers and food producers have a reliable and consistent place to sell their wares directly to the public. Our goal at OXCM is to provide just that – we are open, rain or shine, year-round to reflect Mississippi’s long growing season. We offer a supportive environment for emerging businesses to start and existing businesses to grow,” Chap man said. “At OXCM, we foster camaraderie among our community of vendors and focus on building relationships and partnerships that strengthen our local food system.”
Quinoa Soedsauer of Samsara Garden in Tupelo said the OXCM was more than a farmer’s market.
“We’re a family,” Soedsauer said. “We offer support in hard times, and challenge ourselves to love deeper, share more, and truly connect … OXCM truly lives up to its name of a community market in being a beacon of true connection in the face of the deep isolation of this last year.”