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OXCM’s 2023 Spring Kick-Off to Showcase Local Food, Music & More

Every April, Oxford Community Market celebrates the start of the spring growing season with its annual Spring Kick-Off Party at the farmers market.

Music fills the air, customers mingle and farmers’ stalls are piled high with spring favorites like tender salad greens and bright red strawberries, transforming an empty open-air pavilion into a bustling, vibrant public marketplace.

The OXCM’s 2023 Spring Kick-Off will be from 3-6:30 p.m. on April 18 at the Old Armory Pavilion located at 1801 University Ave.

Spring is always exciting at the farmers market but this year is extra special because OXCM is celebrating its 10th anniversary of serving the community as Oxford’s only year-round weekly farmers market.

This event kicks off a year-long series of events to bring the community together to commemorate this milestone year for the market.

“It’s been remarkable to watch this market grow over the last decade,” said OXCM Director Betsy Chapman, who stepped in to run the market in 2014. “Sustaining this farmers market has been the ultimate group project with countless people, groups, and organizations pitching and committing to keep it growing in spite of enormous challenges.

“Through the years, we’ve built a community of farmers, customers, volunteers, and partners to help grow and sustain the market, support our farmers, and expand our programs to improve access to healthy food.”

Farmer Will Reed, owner of Native Son Farm in Tupelo, brings Certified Naturally Grown farm goods to Oxford every week and has been a key part of the market’s growth over the years.

“We have been selling at OXCM since the beginning and have always found it to be a most wonderful place,” Reed said. “The sense of community among the vendors and longtime customers really helps to buoy our spirits in the middle of a busy work week. I am amazed at all of the community outreach done through the market and look forward to supporting it for many years to come.”

OXCM’s Spring Kick-Off is free and open to the public and will feature live music by former Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni & the Leisure Class, free cake from Velvet Ditch Confections, giveaways, activities for kids, a visit from the baby goats of Flowering Tree Farm, and a large selection of locally grown spring produce and other goods from local food producers.

“Our farmers and food producers take such great pride in bringing their best to market every week,” Chapman said. “In early spring, customers can find strawberries, lettuces, kale, spinach, collards, cabbages, spring onions, carrots, broccoli – all just-picked and super fresh.”

Chapman added that every Tuesday customers can also find grass-fed beef, farm eggs, local honey, artisan baked goods, herbs, mushrooms, coffee and tea blends, frozen treats, plants, fresh flowers and more.

OXCM is north Mississippi’s first year-round weekly farmers market. In addition to operating the market, OXCM operates several outreach programs to improve access to fresh local food in under-resourced communities, especially for senior, SNAP/EBT, and WIC shoppers.

“Our triple bottom line is to ensure that farmers earn fair prices for their hard work, customers have better access to healthy foods, and our community-at-large benefits from the foot traffic and connections formed at our market,” said Chapman of OXCM’s mission-driven approach to developing a strong and equitable local food system.

The market is open every Tuesday year-round, rain or shine, from 3-6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion.

For more information about OXCM, visit www.oxfordcommunitymarket.com, follow OXCM on social media, or contact Chapman at 622-816-7413.

Staff report

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