Member content. Click HERE to become a member for just $3.99/month.
Planning a trip to the Mississippi coast this summer? If you love seafood, you’ll want to check out the Summer of Seafood 2014, happening June 21 through August 15.
Created to promote restaurants that serve wild-caught, genuine Gulf seafood, the Summer of Seafood 2014 is the official launch of Mississippi’s first seafood trail of restaurants, established by the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association.
With more than 40 participating restaurants along the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s 62 miles of coastline, the Mississippi Seafood Trail makes it easy to dine at a different restaurant each day/night of your trip!
Find out more and peruse the list of participating restaurants here.
Attendees learned the benefits and techniques of juicing from Melody Sharp, owner of Living Foods (formerly Local Flavor).
Melody showed the difference between styles of juicers, how to get the most bang for your buck out of fruits and vegetables, tips for any fruits that need to be peeled/cored before juicing, and more.
The class sampled fruit and vegetable juices, participated in questions and answers, and all departed with a full-size juice, recipe card and coupon.
We loved having Melody share her knowledge at a fun evening of culinary learning!
Check out the great write-up by LaReeca Rucker in today’s Oxford Eagle, too!
Don’t miss next month’s class, Southern Foods Done Light, taught by Tim Woodard on July 15 at the Activity Center. Details Here.
***Eating Oxford Institute is a collaboration between EatingOxford.com, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and the Oxford Park Commission.
A couple of weeks back I posted pics from my Oxford Elementary cafeteria lunch visit with Sunny Young, program director of Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS). Today, Sunny offers additional insights into the program that is working hard to bring healthier options to Oxford schoolchildren. Check out what she has to say about this program that has the Oxford school district ahead of so many others.
Sunny Young: Good Food for Oxford Schools (GFOS) is an initiative of the Oxford School District to improve cafeteria menus and simultaneously educate students and their families. We are bringing local foods onto lunch trays, doing more cooking from scratch, and serving much more fresh foods.
We work with teachers in the district to implement school gardens to get students the hands-on experience with their food that is currently missing from many of their lives, and bring farmers into the cafeteria and classroom as well. This allows students to make connections with their food which gets them eating better.
We also reach out to the community via cooking classes for families and events, such as our annual Gospel Choir Showcase.
When was the program started, and why?
The district started GFOS in January of 2013 when we received a planning grant from the USDA Farm to School program. The idea for GFOS came from the district’s Food Services director, Richmond Smith, who wanted to make these improvements and reach students through Farm to School.
We are all aware of the dangerous statistics facing our children in Mississippi, such as a 30% overweight/obese rate (the highest in the country), or the CDC now saying that this generation of children may die at a younger age than their parents. Something drastic must happen to reverse these problems. GFOS is starting that drastic change, led by Mr. Smith, myself, intern Lauren Williams, and the GFOS advisory committee made up of farmers, chefs, the school board president, pediatricians, parents, and community leaders.
How have children and parents responded to the program?
The response has been fabulous… We are all about making good food exciting and not bashing bad foods, and that has kept a very positive image around this project. Parents have come out to volunteer at our events, and students are changing eating habits at home. The response is better than I ever could have asked for, and I am so grateful to have all of this support in Oxford!
How often is local food introduced to school lunches and how are children encouraged to try it?
Our menus have been gradually changing since January 2013. As often as we are able, we do taste testings with the students and hand out samples. We’ve been holding a Harvest of the Month featuring a local food each month (like the strawberries last month). This is a great way to talk about the importance of eating locally. When we can afford it, we give samples of the Harvest of the Month to all students (whether they get a school lunch or bring one from home), but we really need more students eating cafeteria lunches more regularly to keep this program running.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There have been many challenges along the way—but even more successes. I would say our biggest challenge has been getting the word out to parents that the meals are changing. They are different and delicious! We have a really good new stir fry that is made from scratch, a new chicken pot pie, and even a salad bar at the high school! We need students giving these meals a try, and parents are always welcome to come see/eat for themselves as well.
We have been able to achieve so much in the past year and will be producing an annual report soon to show the community just how much we have been able to do. We have gone from a 30% cooked-from-scratch menu to 75%, fresh fruit available at schools every day, a local feature on monthly menus, and gardens at four of the six schools.
Some of our future goals that will happen are: even more food cooked-from-scratch (including trying out some new menus), a salad bar for every school, a garden for every school, and an increase of our classroom and community outreach, including more cooking classes for families and events for students.
The future holds so much promise. It’s really up to you! We want to hear from the Oxford School District community about what changes you would like to see, and what would get your kids eating school lunches.
(Photos provided by Sunny Young)
In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), Square Books will present an evening with Michael Pollan on May 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus.
On tour for his paperback release of Cooked, tickets to the event are free with the purchase of a copy of the book from Square Books. A limited number of student tickets are available through the SFA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pollan’s writing has received numerous awards. He is the author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (available in paperback April 29) and of New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
- Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Event begins at 6:30 p.m.
- This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with a purchase of the paperback edition of Cooked from Square Books (limit two per individual).
- Michael Pollan will sign immediately following the event at Nutt Auditorium. Books will not be sold at Nutt Auditorium.
A friend of mine mentioned to me today that she was going to start composting, and it made me wonder how many people–and possibly restaurants–around Oxford may already be doing this.
It turns out that Ole Miss began a pilot composting program last fall and has been seeing beneficial results, reducing both waste and the University’s carbon footprint. Find out more about the program’s progress here.
I also came across a video today, which highlights a program in Charleston, South Carolina, where restaurants are enrolled in a composting program, cutting down on massive amounts of waste and providing healthy soil for area residents. Check out the inspiring story and video at The Local Palate here.
What do you think? Could Oxford successfully develop a composting program that cuts down on the waste produced by residents and restaurants while at the same time providing healthy soil for new plantings?
It may only be a matter of time.
Story by Katherine Bailey; photos by Local Flavor
Local Flavor, a new café, market, and catering kitchen specializing in organic and local food has replaced Olivia’s Too at 809 College Hill Rd. near Pat Lamar Park.
Owned and operated by Melody Sharp, Local Flavor’s menu offers options ranging from sandwiches to burgers to salads. The cafe also squeezes its own fresh juices and brews its own teas daily.
Sharp says she chose to label Local Flavor as a café and market because she hopes to grow the market side of the store. There are currently refrigerators full of fresh local eggs, grass-fed beef, hormone-free and free-range chickens, as well as to-go casseroles. Additional coolers display fresh local produce that will continue to expand as the growing season continues.
In a tempting case at the counter, an array of cookies, brownies and cakes are available every day. Local Flavor also caters, offering many of its selections for special events.
Hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (perfect for grabbing a juice in the morning and/or produce in the evening) with lunch starting at 11:00 a.m. Saturday hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
For more information, call 662-234-4443 or visit the Local Flavor Facebook page here.
Katherine Bailey is a freelance writer from Oxford now based in Atlanta.
Indianola, Mississippi, native Will Adams is bringing fresh seafood to Oxford with his new store, Indianola Fresh Market, located at 2000 West Jackson Avenue, next to Edward Jones, which will offer an assortment of fresh seafood as well as fresh cuts of beef and specialty beer.
As far as seafood goes, Adams says he will have a large assortment of Gulf catches such as tuna, grouper, redfish, speckled trout, and whole flounder just to name a few. He also says to be on the lookout for red snapper some weeks. Shrimp, oysters, crawfish, and farm-raised Mississippi Delta catfish will also be available.
Steak specials will include filets, ribeyes, NY strips, and sirloin. Adams says he wanted to extend his business to Oxford stating, “It’s good people, a good town, and I want to bring good products at good prices.”
Indianola Fresh Market will offer weekly specials, which you can find featured on the store’s Facebook page. T-shirts and logo stadium cups are also coming soon.
Indianola Fresh Market will have its grand opening on Monday, March 24. For more information call 662-887-5444.
Monday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday- CLOSED (Fresh seafood pickup day)
Wednesday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Fresh seafood day)
Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
P.S. Next time you pass through Indianola, stop into Adams’ original location at 503 Hwy 82 East, Indianola, MS.
Last week, we gave away a $25 gift certificate to My Michelle’s on the Eating Oxford Facebook page. The contest drew nearly 100 entries, and helped to provide dozens of new buffet ideas to My Michelle’s. During the process, several questions came up about menu offerings, location and specials. This post will answer all of your questions and more.
1. New Offerings: Over the past few months, My Michelle’s has grown its meals-to-go and catering model to one that includes those offerings alongside a full sit-down breakfast and lunch buffet Monday through Saturday.
2. Menu: The buffet menu at My Michelle’s changes every day, with the help of new chef Trey Bridgers who hails from City Grocery, Oby’s and Aramark. Menus are posted daily on the My Michelle’s Facebook page and include items such as wheatberry French toast; whole wheat biscuits; gluten-free buckwheat pancakes; steel-cut oats; eggs; Applewood-smoked bacon; and a granola, fruit and yogurt bar for breakfast, and a salad bar; smoked turkey pot pie; meaty pasta bake; Cajun shrimp and quinoa; and grilled sticky soy Hoisin chicken thighs for lunch. Breakfast is 7-10; Lunch is 11-3.
3. Location: My Michelle’s is located at 1308 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 3. It will be four years in June since owner Michelle Rounsaville moved her business from just off University Avenue into a shared kitchen with Nancy Nations of Nations’ Best Catering, and just a few months back when they expanded the 1308 Lamar space to create a sit-down restaurant.
4. Casseroles and Catering: For fans of Michelle’s to-go casseroles, grab-and-go dips and catering, these are all still very much available. My Michelle’s regularly caters weddings, parties and tailgating events, and by signing up for the newsletter you can keep track of the freezer sales they regularly run on casseroles, soups and dips.
5. Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Intolerant Friendly: For those with special dietary needs, the buffet always features a vegetarian soup, most of the vegetables are vegetarian (marked if not), and the vinaigrettes offered on the salad bar are gluten-free.
6. Know Before You Go: The menu is buffet style, but you pay according to weight, similar to the Whole Foods pay-per-pound model. This model fits in nicely with the whole/locally grown/organic concept at My Michelle’s.
7. Insider Tips: Grab a loyalty card while you’re there; it will get you a free trip to the buffet after 10 punches. Students—use your campus ID for free coffee or tea!
If you’ve been looking for a healthier option for lunch, look no further. Today’s buffet featured fresh salad; fruit and dip; white chicken chili; three bean soup; meaty pasta bake; BBQ chicken; twice-baked sweet potato casserole; smoked turkey breast; garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus; spinach; baby carrots and squash; mushrooms; and red onion medley.
The buffet is available from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and each day’s menu is posted on My Michelle’s Facebook page here.
A couple of weeks ago, friend and EatingOxford.com reader Sandra Summers sent me some beautiful photos that she took at the Midtown Farmer’s Market. I’m sharing some of them with you here as a reminder that there are only a few weeks left to take advantage of nature’s bounty.
The Midtown Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. through October.
Vendor updates can be found on the market’s Facebook page here.
The Mississippi Seafood Marketing Program (MSMP) is holding its 4th Annual Mississippi Seafood Cook-Off on Friday, May 31, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Slavonian Lodge in Gulfport.
I’ve been invited to help judge the competition, so if you come down, please stop by and say hello!
The event is open to the public, with free tickets available to anyone who is interested in attending (email your name, phone number and number of tickets you would like to Brooke at MSMP – Brooke.Goff@dmr.ms.gov)
The four-hour long cooking competition will showcase Mississippi chefs who will each compete for the title of “King” or “Queen” of Mississippi Seafood. Each chef will present his/her unique, signature dish featuring fresh, sustainable Mississippi Gulf Seafood to a panel of local judges. The winning chef will represent Mississippi in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO) in New Orleans on August 3, 2013.
The following Mississippi chefs will be submitting dishes using wild-caught Mississippi Seafood:
- Chef Tyler Edwards, Snackbar- Oxford, MS
- Chef Corbin Evans, The Inn at Ole Miss- Oxford, MS
- Chef Ty Thames, Restaurant Tyler- Starkville, MS
- Chef Patrick Heim, Taste! Catering- Biloxi, MS
- Chef Gary Hawkins, Sophia’s Restaurant- Jackson, MS
- Chef David Crews, Six Shooter- Drew, MS
- Chef John Woods, First Choice Catering- Horn Lake, MS
- Chef Reynolds Boykin, Parlor Market- Jackson, MS
- Chef Clayton Barney, Cotton Blues - Hattiesburg, MS
- Chef Jeremy Noffke, Purple Parrot Café- Hattiesburg, MS
- Chef Eric Spencer, Island View Casino- Gulfport, MS
Judges this year will include:
Andy Chapman, Eat Jackson and Eat Y’all
Michael Duncan, Merchants Foodservice
Liz Barrett, Eating Oxford
Lisa Monti, Freelance writer for South MS Living and MS Business Journal
Carrie Duncan, WLOX
Although only the judges will taste competing chefs’ dishes, attendees will have the opportunity to sample seafood prepared by members of the award-winning St. Martin 4-H Culinary Team. All those in attendance will be eligible to vote for their favorite St. Martin 4-H Culinary Team recipe and the most voted for dish will be crowned “People’s Choice.”
The new June/July issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI magazine features my interview with City Grocery Restaurant Group’s John Currence, where he discusses his early days in Oxford, the benefits of change, and the inspiration behind the restaurants that have become Oxford staples. The issue is available at Off-Square Books and Walmart.
Since there wasn’t enough room in the issue for the recipes, I’m including one here.
City Grocery Shrimp & Tabasco Hot Sauce Cheese Grits
- 1 c. Quaker Quick grits
- 4 T. unsalted butter
- 3 1/4 c. extra- sharp white cheddar
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 t. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 T. paprika
- 1 T. Tabasco hot sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook grits according to instructions on package. As grits are finishing, whisk in butter, cheddar, Parmesan, cayenne, paprika and Tabasco. After all ingredients are incorporated, season with salt and pepper.
- 2 c. chopped BBB bacon
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1- 1/2 lb. 26- 30 ct. shrimp
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 t. minced garlic
- 3 c. sliced white mushrooms
- 3 T. white wine
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 c. sliced scallions
Cook bacon until it begins to brown. Remove from heat, strain and reserve bacon grease and bacon bits. Heat large skillet until very hot, add olive oil and 2 T. bacon fat. As oils begin to smoke, toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan. Before stirring, season with salt and pepper (this will season shrimp in particular, but the rest of the dish as well). Sit until shrimp begin to turn pink all over (let pan return to original hot temperature). Stir in minced garlic and bacon bits (be careful not to burn the garlic). Toss in mushrooms and coat with oil briefly. Add lemon juice and wine, stir for 30 seconds or so until everything is well coated and incorporated. Toss in sliced scallion and stir for about 20 seconds (if these hold too long before serving, they will begin to turn brown and lose their crunch). Serve over grits.
The new Oxford City Market is scheduled to open under a 40 X 60 sq. ft. tent on West Oxford Loop, next to Southland Body Shop, at the end of April.
The city-run farmer’s market will be open from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. each Tuesday and may add a second day if all goes well, according to market manager, Katie Morrison.
Fees for booth rental are $10/day for produce, $15/day for prepared foods, and $20/day for arts and crafts.