Oxford’s Year-Round Farmers’ Market

By Danny Toma, staff writer

farmers' market

credit: Farmers’ Market

Wintertime sometimes brings on the blues, especially for those who love to buy their fresh produce at Oxford’s farmers’ markets.  As the outdoor markets close down for the winter, regular customers may feel that they have no place to go until spring for local, fresh, or unusual produce.

Despair no longer. One of Oxford’s best kept secrets is the little store on North Lamar just past the city limits. From the outside, it isn’t much to look at, and if it weren’t for the faded, hand-painted sign that says “Farmers’ Market,” there would be very little reason to stop. But stop you should, because inside is a vast array of fresh produce, meats and fish, cheeses, and all manner of gourmet goodies.

For the last 10 years, owners (and husband-and-wife team), Liz Stagg and Frank Coppola, have sought to provide a place where shoppers can “go local” as well as find one-of-a-kinfarmers market liz coverd items not available anywhere else in town—think Arkansas Black apples, fresh prickly pear cactus pads (nopales), purple and white sweet potatoes, huge batches of winter greens, pasture-raised eggs, tomatillos, and multiple varieties of dried chilies.

Stagg and Coppola, originally hailing from North Carolina, bought Farmers’ Market with the goal of staying as local as possible, partnering with local farms and other producers. They carry Delta Grind grits, High Point coffee, Peeple’s Farm eggs, Mardis honey, Brown Dairy milk, Honey Bee Bakery bread, and much more. From their other store near Batesville, Stan’s Country Store, they also sell meats and sausages that they process on site.

While local suppliers may not always have the items that their customers crave, Liz and Frank seek out the highest quality producers while trying at all times to keep their prices competitive with other stores in the area. Oxford gourmets need go no further for international food items from Latin America and Asia while at the same time stocking up on homemade beef jerky or locally produced pork rinds. They even make their own doggy treats.

So, don’t let the cold weather dampen your appetite for local food.  Drop by Farmers’ Market at 274 County Road 101 (North Lamar) and check out their offerings.  They are always happy to suggest ways to prepare items they have on sale or work with customers looking for the right ingredient for that special recipe. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. (662) 234-9363

Want to know more? Hear a 2011 interview with Liz Stagg’s via the Southern Foodways Alliance here.


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.


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5 Books for Food Lovers

Looking for a gift for the food lovers on your holiday shopping list?

I’m recommending the below five food-centric books, written by authors based right here in Oxford and the surrounding areas. Now you can keep things delicious and local!

Click on the book title to be linked to purchase information at Square Books or elsewhere. Most of these titles can be purchased at Square Books.




Square Table

Published by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council

An awesome collection of bygone recipes from around Oxford, Mississippi. Proceeds from the book go to support arts in Oxford.



daily journal cookbook


A Taste of the Season Cookbook (2014 Holiday Edition)

A Collection of 500 recipes collected and compiled by The Daily Journal.




pizza book cover


Pizza: A Slice of American History

By Liz Barrett

An insider’s guide to the history of America’s favorite food. Packed with new and historic photographs, fun facts and delicious commentary from pizza journalist and publisher of EatingOxford.com, Liz Barrett.



sfa cookbook


The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

Edited by Sara Roahen and John T. Edge

Containing more than 170 recipes for some of the south’s most iconic foods, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever appreciated the community written, spiral-bound cookbooks of our past.




Inside My Italian Kitchen

By Luisa Bosco Arico

Born in Italy and recognized for her “Cooking Italian Made Easy” column in the Oxford Eagle, Arico has compiled a cookbook with all of her favorite recipes, ranging from risotto to tiramisu.



Surprising New Pizza Menu

pizza hutBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Toasted Asiago, Salted Pretzel, Peruvian Cherry Peppers, and Honey Sriracha—these these are not the latest offerings at Oxford’s newest gourmet deli, but rather part of a radically new menu being offered at Pizza Hut.

The new menu, which features six new sauces, five new ingredients, and items such as customized pizza crusts and extra sauce drizzles to finish off the toppings, has been available in Oxford for about a week, but, according to local Pizza Hut employees, it’s still relatively unknown to local diners, most of whom are sticking to the menu items they know. This could soon change as more people become aware of the additional choices Pizza Hut has to offer.

For those of an adventurous nature, the combinations possible are almost endless, as one can choose from sauces as diverse as creamy garlic Parmesan, premium crushed tomato, or a medium spiced Buffalo sauce, and add on to these either the new or the traditional Pizza Hut ingredients. There are also new combination pizzas available, such as the “Pretzel Piggy” (garlic Parmesan sauce with bacon, mushrooms, and spinach with a salted pretzel crust and a balsamic sauce drizzle), the “Giddy Up BBQ Chicken” (barbecue sauce topped with grilled chicken, bacon, red onions and flavored with toasted cheddar crust and a barbecue sauce drizzle) and many more.

Will Pizza Hut’s bold move into more exotic ingredients appeal to the local gourmet market?  That’s for you to decide.


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.


Exploring Southern Wines in Oxford

wine photo danny tomoBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Going local is one of the hottest trends in the world of food and drinks, and what better way to accompany that plate of Mississippi food than with a good Southern wine? While the climate in much of the South is not conducive to the growing of vinifera grapes, there are some exceptions in neighboring states, and, if one likes muscadine wine, that bottle can even be from Mississippi. Old South Winery, established in Natchez in 1979 is the state’s sole winery, using exclusively Mississippi muscadine grapes, and it is readily available for purchase in Oxford.

Because of Mississippi’s alcohol laws, stores are limited in what they can sell to whatever the State warehouse has on offer, but there is still a fair amount of variety to be had. The following is a list of Oxford package stores that sell wine produced in the South:

Stores carrying Old South only: Leonardo’s Wine and Spirits, The Whiskey Still, Kiamie’s, West Jackson Wine and Spirits, CM Package Store, and P.J.’s Wine and Liquor.

Poppa’s Wine and Spirits has a rather impressive collection of Southern wines that includes Old South, Ozan (Calera, Alabama), Post (Altus, Arkansas), Vizzini Farms (Calera, Alabama – their “Rebel Red” and “Rebel White” feature a character who looks suspiciously similar to a certain mascot who once frequented Vaught-Hemingway), and Biltmore Estates (Asheville, North Carolina). They also were quick to claim Krutz Family Cellars wines of the Russian River Valley, California as a “Southern” wine in their book, despite its geographic provenance, as the three brothers who run this winery are all Ole Miss alums.

Star Package Store also has a similarly impressive collection, carrying Post, Ozan, and Vizzini wines, as well as blackberry wine from St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri (which qualifies as Southern depending on which map you prefer).

Rebel Wine and Spirits has recently expanded its wine selection and has not neglected its Southern heritage, carrying Old South, Post, and Biltmore Estates, with Vizzini wines currently on back order.

The fairly new package store, Magnolia Wine and Spirits does not carry any Southern wines in their regular stock, but helpfully offered to order anything they could get from the State warehouse.

One final note: I did not count the now relatively easy to find Tula Wines of the Oxford Wine Company as Southern since they are actually California wines. Even so, it is hard to pass up a bottle that has the image of the Lafayette County courthouse right on the label.


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

England Dan’s Not Closing

england dansYou may have noticed the lights out at England Dan’s over the last week or so, but co-owner Mike Salts assured EatingOxford.com yesterday that the restaurant will not be closing.

Due to an undisclosed medical emergency, Salts says he has been in the hospital since November 9.

A sign on the door yesterday indicated that the restaurant would be reopening under new management today with updated hours Wednesday through Saturday 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

We all wish Mike a speedy recovery.




Free Lebanese Cooking Classes Nov. 20 & Dec. 4

lebanon flagBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Lebanon, the home of the ancient Phoenicians and the site of the Biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon is one of the great crossroads of the Middle East. Inhabited by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shi’ah Muslims, and the mysterious Druze, its people speak Arabic and French, with minorities of Armenian, Greek, and Kurdish speakers. With such a rich and cosmopolitan heritage, Lebanese cooking is widely considered to be one of the richest in the region and shows Arabic, Turkish, and French influences.

Now, right here in Oxford, Mississippi, you too can learn the secrets of this delicious cuisine and best of all, can do it absolutely free of charge. The Oxford Activity Center (corner of Price St. and Molly Barr) will host two nights of Lebanese cooking classes, presented by Ms. Lena Hand, on Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If interested, contact Deb Helms at (662) 236-1157 or at dhelms@oxfordms.net. As of this writing, there are still about 10 spots available, so act fast so as not to miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity!


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

Oxford Thanksgiving: Eaten Out or Catered In

thanksgiving postEvery year around this time I receive several emails from folks looking for a place to dine out on Thanksgiving.

More and more people either don’t want to deal with the mess of cooking at home, or they’re coming to visit their children who live in the dorms at Ole Miss and they want to be able to take them out to eat for the holiday.

This year, we also have the Egg Bowl on the same weekend as Thanksgiving, meaning many people will be traveling and not wanting to shop for all of the Thanksgiving fixings.

Since most restaurants in Oxford close for the holidays, I usually end up recommending that visitors try places such as IHOP, Huddle House, Applebee’s and Cracker Barrel (Batesville), which are usually open on holidays.

However, there are a couple of restaurants on the Square open this year….

Lenora’s will also be open on Thanksgiving, offering a small buffet-style dinner. Call 662-236-1144 for more info.

Locals will be open on Thanksgiving with a turkey and dressing brunch. Call 662-234-9594 for more info.

For those who have a space in town to hold Thanksgiving, but would rather have someone else cook, Oxford offers many catering options if you’d like food prepared ahead of time and ready for the big day.

A few options include:

Rib Cage: smoked turkey, smoked ham, pork loin – p/u by Nov. 26, (662) 238-2929

Honey Bee Bakery: hams, pies, breads – order by Nov. 24, (662) 234-2490

My Michelle’s: ham, turkey, dressing, casseroles, etc. – order by Nov. 24, (662) 236-1512

Queenissippi Catering: roasted Cajun turkey, casseroles, desserts, etc. – order by Nov. 23, (662) 609-5475

Little Easy Catering: variety of of holiday casseroles. (662) 236-5737

Lamar Lounge: smoked turkeys – order by Nov. 24, (662) 513-6197

Rebel Barn: smoked turkeys and hams – order by Nov. 22, (662) 469-6227

Mark Davis: variety of turkeys, brisket, pork loin, dressing, etc. – order by Nov. 21, (662) 801-3939

Lenora’s: A variety of Thanksgiving items; order by Nov. 25, (662) 236-1144

Have I missed a restaurant or catering option? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.



Sno Biz Disappearance

credit: oxford citizen

credit: oxford citizen

Did you notice Sno Biz disappear this week?

Eating Oxford reader Shannon Lewis Kellenberger thought it was torn down, so I did a bit of investigating and found a story about it in the Oxford Citizen.

According to the Oxford Citizen, Sno Biz will be moving from the spot it has inhabited for more than two decades in order to make room for an Auto Zone. Sno Biz owner John Sherman told the paper that he’ll be relocating the Sno Biz hut to the shopping center across the street from Beacon in the spring after a few renovations. (See the full story here.)

It will certainly be strange to drive down University Avenue and not see the Sno Biz, but the new location should provide ample parking and lots of room for outdoor seating.

Let me know in the comments what you think about the move and some of your favorite memories from Sno Biz over the years.


(PHOTO CREDIT: Oxford Citizen)

Central BBQ Now Serving Oxford

central-BBQ-food-truckCentral BBQ, a staple in the Memphis barbecue scene for 13 years, is now serving its famous barbecue to Oxford via its food truck on Ole Miss football game weekends, according to truck manager Mark Goldsmith.

“Our slow-smoked Memphis-style BBQ, house made seasonings and sauces have been a huge success in Memphis and we hope Oxford will enjoy it just as much as Memphis does,” says Goldsmith.

On Ole Miss game day weekends, the Truck parks at 400 S. Lamar, in the parking lot near Holli’s Sweet Tooth, and opens Friday nights from 9:00 p.m. until around 2:00 a.m. Saturdays it opens for tailgate pick-up orders and lunch straight through until the bars close or they sell out. Contact Goldsmith directly for tailgate orders at truck@cbqmemphis.com or 901-240-8954.


Oxford’s Favorite Server: Judy Chrestman Pettit

A couple of week’s ago EatingOxford.com asked readers who they thought was the best server in town, and we received an overwhelming response.

judy at beaconOne of the names that stood out was Judy Chrestman Pettit, who has been a server at Beacon for 18 years!

When asked how she makes customers feel welcome and appreciated, Pettit told EatingOxford.com, “I get to know my customers by name. They feel like part of my family,” she says. “The customers feel at home because they can feel the love in the cooking and in the air!”

Pettit says she enjoys being a server in Oxford because she gets to provide a good experience for her customers, and says she’s never thought of working anywhere else but the Beacon. “I love the customers and my coworkers so I’ve never wanted to be a server anywhere else,” she says.

Her advice for server’s just starting out? “Enjoy what you’re doing!”

Be sure to congratulate Judy the next time you visit her at Oxford’s Beacon!





Winner List – Oxford’s Best Eats 2014


A few months ago, we asked EatingOxford.com readers to participate in a 40-question survey to help choose the best in Oxford’s restaurant scene (best burger, catfish, sandwich, shrimp & grits, chef, customer service and more).

The votes have been tallied and the winners are listed below. In addition to finding the list here, you can locate it easily at any time via the “Oxford’s Best Eats” page on EatingOxford.com.

We hope this will inspire you to explore some new restaurants in Oxford; let us know your thoughts about the winner selection in the comments section below.



Newk’s Eatery

newks banner

  • Best Sandwich
  • Best Soup
  • Best Salad
  • Best for Healthy Eating

My Michelle’s

my michelle

  • Best Catering/Tailgating

Ajax Diner

  • Best Plate Lunch
  • Best Vegetarian Selection
  • Best Country Cooking


  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant for a Date


  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Restaurant for Hanging with Friends
  • Best Restaurant for a Business Meeting

Handy Andy

  • Best Burger
  • Best Barbecue

Oxford Grillehouse

  • Best Steaks


  • Best Biscuits

Tre Amici

  • Best Italian

Soulshine Pizza Factory

  • Best Pizza


  • Best Mexican


  • Best Sushi

Rice & Spice

  • Best Asian

Bottletree Bakery

  • Best Bakery

Big Bad Breakfast

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Brunch


  • Best Fried Chicken

John Currence

  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurateur

Buffalo Wild Wings

  • Best Wings

High Point Coffee

  • Best Coffee

Ya Ya’s

  • Best Frozen Yogurt

City Grocery

  • Best Shrimp & Grits
  • Best Bartender (Chip Moore)
  • Best Bar

Oxford City Farmer’s Market (loop)

  • Best Farmer’s Market


  • Best Fast Food

Lamar Lounge

  • Best Fries


  • Best Sweet/Unsweet Tea

Chevron 4-Corners chicken on a stick

  • Best Late-Night Snack

Taylor Grocery

  • Best Catfish


Be the first to know Oxford food news. Click here.

Attention restaurant winners: If any of you still need winner certificates, please contact Liz@EatingOxford.com.




Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in Oxford on Southern Tour

big gay ice cream

credit: big gay ice cream

The New York-based Big Gay Ice Cream truck is coming through Oxford on its Southern Tour, working a private event for the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium on Saturday.

For those not attending the SFA event, the truck will also be set up on Friday, Oct. 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., serving favorites such as the Salty Pimp, Bea Arthur, Mermaid, and American Globs.

See the official Big Gay Ice Cream truck Facebook invite page here for more info.

ice cream menu

All is New Again at Rooster’s Blues House

roosters signIf you haven’t been to Rooster’s Blues House lately, you haven’t been.

A new kitchen, new menu, new chef (Jeff Robertson), and new specials are all beckoning new and seasoned customers up those familiar wooden steps and onto the balcony of Rooster’s Blues House at 114 Courthouse Square.

Owner Scott Michael says that the newly condensed menu focuses on three amazing burgers, wings, smoked barbecue nachos and Rotel house fries. “Our Coldwater River burger is a hefty 16 ounces of meat topped with bacon, jalapenos, Rotel, and homemade barbecue sauce,” says Michael. “We want people to know they can come here for burgers, fries and wings and find the best prices on The Square.”roosters menu

And speaking of great prices, every Tuesday night, Rooster’s Blues House offers every item on its menu for only $5, and Monday nights have become famous for 25 cent wings and $3 pitchers of beer.

Rooster’s regularly hosts live music on the weekends and tunes into the Ole Miss game on the televisions, but did you also know that you can  grab dinner there any night of the week and enjoy lunch on the weekends? The kitchen is open 7 days a week, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday to Sunday the doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the lunch crowd.

Don’t miss happy hour and late-night drink specials, and keep up with the latest food specials and band appearances via the Rooster’s Blues House Facebook and Twitter pages.








Coffee Samples at High Point Tonight

chemex (2)Have you ever tried coffee made with a Chemex brewer before? High Point Coffee on The Square will be introducing Oxford to this unique way of brewing coffee tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 21) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. via demonstrations and free samples.

High Point manager Adam Saunders invited EatingOxford.com in for a sneak peek of the system yesterday and says that while Chemex brewing has been going on for years, it’s something that isn’t available anywhere nearby. The process incorporates freshly ground coffee beans and a barista who uses special equipment to manually pour hot water, 100 grams at a time, over the coffee.

I had never heard of Chemex brewing before. I drink coffee, but that’s about as far as it goes. I found that the slower brewing from the Chemex gave the coffee a more pure taste, if that’s possible. I’m no coffee expert, but I noticed a difference.

Saunders says that High Point will begin by offering Chemex-brewed coffee on afternoons during the week, and eventually serve it every day as demand grows.

Taste it for yourself tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.




Coming Soon: Chef Kelly English Opening Restaurant in Oxford

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