Throwback Thursday: L&M’s Kitchen and Salumeria

L&M's kithcn and salumeria -oxford derek moreton

Credit: Derek Moreton

For Throwback Thursday, I want to talk about one of my old Oxford favorites–L&M’s Kitchen and Salumeria.

I say old because I moved to Oxford in 2006 and was only able to enjoy L&M’s for a couple of years before it closed.

The place had such a warmth about it. You’d walk down the long hallway entrance, past a variety of meats hanging in a glass room where someone in the group would usually pause to say, “I’ll take that one!” Once you reached the dining room, the smell of marinara, steaks and garlic hit you in the most delightful way. The clinking of wine glasses and the dull roar of diners disappeared as you bit into crispy bruschetta, perfectly al dente pasta, and herbacious local sausage. That’s just dinner. Don’t even get me started on brunch!

Oxford history says that L&M’s Kitchen closed (and Boure moved) because of the Vieux Carre construction project (you’re familiar with the building housing Pita Pit on the corner of Lamar and Jefferson?). There was scheduled to be a second Vieux Carre tower. That was six years ago. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

In my opinion, Oxford sacrificed one if its best restaurants in order to make room for a project that never came to fruition.

There is a silver lining here, though. For those who fell in love with the sausage and pork served at L&M’s, I believe you can still obtain it from the restaurant’s original supplier, Stan’s Country Store on Hwy 6 or the Farmers’ Market on Old Hwy 7. And if you can whip up some pasta and bruschetta like Dan Latham used to make, call me up and I’ll head right over.


P.S. Wondering what happened to chef/owner Dan Latham? After closing L&M’s, he moved to Atlanta and began Moto Bene, a successful mobile pizza truck, before moving on to open his own restaurant consulting business, LQC Ventures, in 2011.


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Oxford Spotlight: No Time 2 Cook

karen kurr from no time 2 cook

Karen Kurr, No Time 2 Cook

By Danny Toma, staff writer

A decade ago, Karen Kurr was a mom known for her outstanding Cajun cooking. This Shreveport, Louisiana, native, with deep Mississippi roots, got so many compliments on her recipes that she and her sister decided to take it all on the road–literally. Working out of her home kitchen,  Karen started selling her favorite dishes at the flea market in Byram, Mississippi, before moving on to Jackson. People could simply not get enough of what she was making, so she kept it coming and started hitting farmers’ markets and trade events in Tupelo, Oxford, and Memphis.

She found that her little kitchen just could not keep up with the demand, so she got licensed and expanded her operation into other parts of her house and sold in rented spaces in antique malls across the state. But it simply could not go on like that anymore. Five years ago, it was time to “go pro,” and Karen and her sister made plans for the next stage, opening what is to this day the only USDA-inspected small casserole plant in the state of Mississippi, and it is located right here in Oxford. no time 2 cook dressing

Since its humble beginnings, No Time 2 Cook has expanded beyond its original Cajun focus to feature solid comfort foods with quality ingredients, providing meals that taste like homemade for those without the time to put them together. The attention to quality has not gone unnoticed. Several No Time 2 Cook products began to show up as seasonal offerings in a number of Kroger grocery stores and did so well that the Delta division of Kroger (which covers most of Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, west Tennessee, and parts of Kentucky) began carrying them permanently in March 2014. Today, in nearly every Kroger in the area, you can buy No Time 2 Cook’s top selling dishes–chicken and dumplings and chicken pie–along with its three other main products (chicken and dressing, tamale pie, and crab and mushroom penne). No Time 2 Cook foods are also distributed through Sysco in Memphis and are currently available in select Albertson’s locations in Texas.

no time 2 cook krogerBut it all comes back to Lafayette County. The little casserole factory, which employs six people and is located just outside the city limits of Oxford, focuses on taste, while enjoying the benefits of automation. No Time 2 Cook is capable of producing some 800 units per day (versus 75 or so when they were still working out of Karen’s house), and hope to expand yet again to double production. Karen oversees the entire operation to ensure that the final product lives up to the reputation that she has earned over the years. In addition, she has developed packaging that is not only visually attractive but also environmentally friendly, with all components being recyclable.

Oxford is not only No Time 2 Cook’s home, but also its test market. You can purchase the company’s top sellers at Kroger and also find No Time 2 Cook products in the cooler at the Mustard Seed Antique Mall on University Avenue. This is where the company tests new items, such as caramel cake, and run old favorites, like its famous gumbo base, appreciated by cooks across the area, including by those at B’s Barbecue, who uses it as a starter for their popular gumbo.

You cooked enough over the holidays; now is the perfect time to give No Time 2 Cook a try. Check out some of the best sellers at Kroger, or swing by the Mustard Seed to see what new dishes are in the works for the future.

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 contributes to on a regular basis.


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Master of the Pit: Nick Reppond

Lamar Lounge pig danny toma

Nick Reppond monitors the pit at Lamar Lounge.

By Danny Toma, staff writer

In the beginning man discovered hogs. The hogs were cooked over a slow fire. Man discovered that they were good.

Years later, man began cooking only select pieces of the hog, and the memory of whole hog barbecue faded away, left to be carried on by latter day keepers of the flame.

nick reppond lamar lounge danny toma

Barbecue runs through Reppond’s veins.

One of these flame keepers is Nick Reppond, pitmaster for Lamar Lounge, the only commercial whole hog barbecue operation in the state of Mississippi. While smoking the entire pig is the oldest, most traditional way of making barbecue, and is still the norm in much of eastern North Carolina, it had all but died out in Mississippi until Lamar Lounge brought it back in the summer of 2013. Now, barbecue aficionados can make the pilgrimage to 1309 North Lamar and taste the difference for themselves.

Lamar Lounge smokes three to four hogs per week, on average. The process starts between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 pm. Reppond fires up the blend of oak and hickory (with some pecan) and gets the hog fest underway. He starts with a relatively high temperature of around 300 degrees to sear the pig, but then drops it to around 200 degrees for the rest of the cooking time. It’s not a scientific process, as the heat is usually measured by placing a hand on the cooker, but the product comes out consistently well–the result of years of barbecue experience. He leaves the smoker in the hands of his associate for the rest of the night and returns early in the morning to finish it up. By 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., the meat is ready to be served in the restaurant for lunch and supper.

Reppond has spent his entire life around pork. Growing up in Memphis, barbecue runs through his veins like smoky sauce, and he even spent a few years on the Memphis in May competition circuit. In addition, he worked many summers on his family’s hog farm in north Louisiana, so making barbecue as a living seemed foreordained. Perfecting his skills with such luminaries as Rodney Scott of Hemingway, South Carolina (Scott’s Barbecue) and Sam Jones of Ayden, North Carolina (The Skylight Inn), he returned to Mississippi to take on the role of pitmaster at Lamar Lounge.

All of Lamar Lounge’s hogs are sourced through Homeplace Pastures of Como, which breed pasture-raised, heritage hogs (Red Wattle-Duroc mix) that are well-taken care of and humanely slaughtered in a special facility in Summerville, Tennessee. These hogs forage well on their own and are never housed on concrete. In addition, the Red Wattle breed goes back to the very origins of the American colonies, so, in tasting Lamar Lounge’s barbecue, one gets a chance to sample pork as it used to taste before factory farms and mass production.

Lamar Lounge exterior danny toma

Find customer reviews for Lamar Lounge on by clicking the photo above.

Reppond says that the restaurant’s focus is to continue concentrating on making consistently good barbecue. Because of the long absence of whole hog barbecue from the Magnolia State, it doesn’t have the strong following it does in other parts of the South, but Reppond is confident that as more people come to know it, they won’t settle for anything less.

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 contributes to on a regular basis.

It’s Collard Time in Oxford (Recipe Included!)

collardsBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Nothing screams “South” so much as a big plate of collard greens, and this is the perfect time of year to find fresh collards across Oxford. Whether one shops at Kroger, Wal-Mart, Larson’s Cash Saver, or Farmers’ Market on North Lamar, one can add a batch of collard greens to the grocery basket at a very reasonable price (the Oxford average is less than 40 cents for a bunch).

Unlike some of our favorite Southern specialties, collard greens are actually quite good for you. Rich in vitamins C and K, and an excellent source of fiber, some studies have hinted that collards may have anticarcinogenic properties as well. Only those on blood thinners need to be cautious around collards (the high levels of vitamin K is associated with blood clotting), but for the rest of us, we can have as much as we want. On top of the good nutrition they provide, collard greens only have about 50 calories per serving.

While we claim collard greens as our own peculiarly Southern dish, the fact is, collards have been eaten across the globe as far back as ancient Greek times. A member of the Brassica oleracea family of plants, which includes such things as cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, collard greens are eaten across many parts of Africa and Latin America as well.

One of the simplest and most traditional ways of preparing collard greens is simply to boil them with a piece of cured, salted meat, such as fatback or bacon. The rich green broth, or pot liquor, is delicious soaked up with a piece of cornbread. Many people, this writer included, believe that the only thing one needs to enhance the flavor at this point is a bit of pepper sauce sprinkled over the top.

As hard as it is to imagine, not everyone is a fan of boiled greens. Thankfully, the number of ways you can prepare collard greens is limited only by the imagination. Below is a recipe that I created for collard green-olive pesto; an easy and tasty recipe that appeared in Gourmet magazine in 2004 (see it here) and went viral, mainly due to its use by Community Supported Agriculture newsletters outside the South whose members had no concept of what to do with the batch of collard greens that showed up on their doorstep with their vegetable basket. Use it when you want to make that mess of greens a bit more “high tone.”

Collard Green-Olive Pesto

Recipe by Danny Toma


  • 1 ¾ lb. collard greens
  • 7 large brine-cured green olives (2 ¼ ounces), pitted
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)


Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems and center ribs from collard greens and discard. Stir collards into water in batches, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer collards with tongs to a colander to drain, gently pressing on greens to extract excess water. (If making pasta, reserve water in pot for cooking pasta.) Coarsely chop collards.

Blend olives and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add collards, water, vinegar, salt, cayenne, and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream. Turn off motor, then add cheese and pulse to combine. Yield: About 2 ¼ cups


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 on a regular basis.

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 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, 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.



37 October Events – Mark Your Calendar!

Looking for something to do while you’re enjoying this beautiful weather? There’s no shortage of events going on in the Oxford area and the rest of Mississippi in October. Along with the cooler weather comes an assortment of fall festivals, BBQ cook offs, holiday cooking conventions, tailgating classes, chili competitions, Halloween balls and much, much, more. Below is a list of food-related happenings that’s sure to keep you busy all month long.

Let your taste buds explore what Fall brings to the South and don’t forget to send photos of yourself having fun to (we may use your pic in a new project we’re creating!).

Happy Fall Y’all!

–Rashell Dawsey, freelance writer,


October 1-12 — Mississippi State Fair — Jackson Fair Grounds, Jackson

October 2-4 –Hog Wild BBQ Festival — Historic Downtown Corrinth — Corinth

October 2 — Moonlight Masquerade “Feeling Groovy” – Biloxi Civic Center —  Biloximargarita class

October 3 — First Friday at LAZY MAGNOLIA - Lazy Magnolia’s brewery — Kiln

October 3-5 — North Mississippi Fall Fest – Horn  Lake

October 3-5  – Mighty Mississippi Blue’s Festival — Warfield Point Park — Greenville

October 3-5 — Holy Family Seafood Festival — Pass Christian

October 4  – Sunset on the Bay — Bay St. Louis Community Center — Bay St. Louis

October 4 – Loblolly Festival - Downtown Laurel —  Laurel

October 4 — Downtown Vicksburg Fall Fest – Vicksburg

October 4 — Octoberfest – Olive Branch

October 4-5  – Highway 61 Blues Festival- Warfield Point Park – Lelandblind wines

October 4 — A Day in the County Festival – Madison

October 4-5 — Mississippi Peanut Festival – Mitchell Farms — Collins

October 5 — Bachtoberfest – Pascagoula

October 6 — Margaritas and Guacamole classOxford

October 9 — 3 Blind WinesOxford

October 10-11  – Octoberfest – Downtown Cleveland — Cleveland

October 11 — 11th Ever ShedHead Blues Festival and BBQ Competition — Ocean Springs, Ms

October 13 — Fall Pilgrimage – Historic Natchez, Ms

October 16-18 — Deep Blues Festival — Shack Up Inn’s Juke Joint Chapel —  Clarksdale

October 16-18 — Delta Hot Tamale Festival – Greenville

October 16-19 — Fear Fete Horror Con & Film Festival (includes a ZOMBIE pub crawl!) — MS Coast Convention Center — Biloxi

October 17-25 — South Mississippi Fair – Laurel

October 17-18 — The Bukka White Blues Festival – Tenn-Tom Waterway — Aberdeen

October 17-20 — Great Mississippi River Balloon Race — Natchezballoon race

October 17 — Paint the ‘Burg Purple and Gold block party music festival (18 or older) – Downtown Historic Vicksburg — Vicksburg

October 18-19 — Mullet and Music Fest — Gautier

October 18 — St. Rose de Lima Heritage Festival — Bay St. Louis

October 18-26 — Jackson County Fair — Pascagoula

October 21 — Extreme Tailgating Cooking Class – Gulfport

October 22-25 — Celebration Village — Tupelo

October 23 —  Holiday Hobnob  —  Gulfport

SFA-logo1October 23 — 17th Southern Foodways SymposiumOxford

October 25 – Frogfest and Deer Creek Chili Cook off - Leland

October 25 — Fall Fest on the Roost – Old Towne — Olive Branch

October 31 – November 3 — Hambone Festival — Clarksdale

Did we miss your favorite food-related Mississippi-based event in October? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!

Mississippi Food Events – September

mississippi mapLooking for something to do in Oxford and beyond? Fortunately, there’s no shortage of events happening in the next few months throughout the state. I’m always perusing various sources for the latest food-related happenings, and now you can benefit from all of my research.

Check out what’s on the schedule for September and send along photos of yourself having fun (we may use your pic in a new project we’re compiling!).

Note: Click on each event name to find out more….

Fri./Sat. Sept. 5-6 – Fire & Feast BBQ Competition & Festival – Yazoo Festival

Sat., Sept. 6 – Our Team Our Town Community-Wide Tailgate – Oxford

Sun., Sept. 7 – NW Mississippi Farm Tours – Ashland, Tyro, Coldwater

Sat., Sept. 13 – Muscadine Jubilee – Pelahatchie

Sat., Sept. 13 and Sun., Sept. 14 – 33rd Annual Biloxi Seafood Seafood Festival – Biloxi

Tues., Sept. 16 – Flaming Desserts Class – Oxford

Wed., Sept. 17 to Sat., Sept. 20 – Alcorn County Fair – Corinth

Fri., Sept. 19 – Bash to Benefit Junior Auxiliary of Oxford – Oxford

wing dang doodle festival

Credit: Wing Dang Doodle Festival

Fri., Sept. 19 – 24th Annual Rice Tasting Luncheon – Cleveland

Fri., Sept. 19 to Sun., Sept. 28 – 158th Annual Mid-South Fair – Southaven

Sat., Sept. 20 – The Wrecking Ball – Marshall County

Sat., Sept. 20 – Front Porch Jubilee – Hernando

Sat., Sept. 20 – 37th Annual MS Delta Blues & Heritage Festival – Greenville

Sat., Sept. 20 – International Gumbo Festival – Jackson

Sat., Sept. 20 and Sun., Sept. 21 – 5th Annual Mississippi Gourd Festival – Raleigh

Tues., Sept. 23 – Oxford Art Crawl – Oxford

Tues., Sept. 23 – Taste of Long Beach – Long Beach

Fri., Sept. 26 to Sat., Sept. 27 – Bodock Festival – Pontotoc

Fri/Sat, Sept. 26-27 – The Great Ruleville Roast & Run – Ruleville

Fri/Sat, Sept. 26-27 – Tallahatchie Riverfest – New Albany

Fri., Sept. 26 to Sun., Sept. 28 – Nourish- Reclaim Real Food – Starkville

Fri., Sept. 26 to Mon., Oct. 13 – Fall Pilgrimage – Natchez

Sat., Sept. 27 – Wing Dang Doodle Festival – Forest

Sun., Sept. 28 - 32nd Annual Chefs of the Coast Food and Wine Gala – Biloxi




Win My Food Press Trip! Nourish – Reclaim Real Food

homestead 1

Photo: MS Modern Homestead

Mississippi Modern Homestead in Starkville, Mississippi, will present NOURISH – RECLAIM REAL FOOD, Friday, September 26 to Sunday, September 28.

Registration is open until September 8, with just 20 spots available.

I’m unable to attend, but the Nourish event coordinators have agreed to let me pass my invitation along to ONE lucky Eating Oxford winner! The winner will receive a full weekend of education, meals and housing (a $290 value). The catch? We just want you to have a good time, snap some photos, and tell us about your trip for a post on the Eating Oxford website. Email me at and tell me why YOU should win. We’ll choose a winner this Friday, August 29.

Event/Retreat Description from website:

Chef Marion Sansing cuts through the bombardment of the latest health craze and brings participants back to the traditional kitchen for real nourishment. Participants will become confident in the kitchen and in making healthy food choices that will impact health for the rest of their lives.

True nourishment is not just about what we eat; it is also about the quality and source of our foods, and how you prepare them. Learn the kitchen crafts of the past, preparing in-season, wholesome, locally and sustainably grown foods for your well-being. You will gain a good understanding of: nutrient-dense foods, beneficial fats, fermentation, bone


Photo: MS Modern Homestead

broths, pasture raised meats and eggs, proper preparation of seeds like legumes, grains, etc., and about health risks in industrial food. We will also cover general kitchen skills like: making the most out of nutrient dense ingredients, making the harvest last, fitting traditional kitchen crafts into a modern life style and the art of the perpetual meal. Feel confident to make good food choices for a healthy lifestyle and learn to make sense of all the nutrition information you hear about every day.

Registration is $245 to $290 (this price includes meals, housing, and workshops)

Schedule of Events:

Friday Evening:

3-5 pm Check-in, relax, find a bunk and meet your retreat-mates.

5:30pm  The best part of our weekend retreat is by far the meals. Chef Marion Sansing rolls out 6 all-star meals throughout the weekend. Join her for dinner and fellowship.

7 o’clock Setting Up Your No Waste Kitchen


8 o’clock  Farm Fresh Breakfast

9:00am-12:00pm  Canning and Drying

12:30-1:30pm  Fresh and Local Lunch

1:30pm  Condiments

3 o’clock  Healthy Fats


Photo: MS Modern Homestead

5 o’clock  Dinner is Served

7:30pm  Hot cocoa and visit by the fire


8 o’clock  Farm Fresh Breakfast

9-11am  Fermentation/Culturing

11 o’clock  Final luncheon, clean-up and farewells

Find Tickets Here


Family Cooking Night: Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m.

kid cookingEating Oxford Institute: Family Cooking Night with Good Food for Oxford Schools

Family Cooking Night invites parents and children (max 4 per family) to a night of cooking with Sunny Young, director of Good Food for Oxford Schools and Richmond Smith, a former chef of the New Orleans Saints and current nutrition services director for the Oxford School District.

Tickets are not available at the door. Please pre-order via Brown Paper Tickets to secure your place to this limited-seating class.

Attendees will create a salad, dressing, and shrimp dish utilizing ingredients from our local Oxford City Market.

The class will be held at Della Davidson Elementary School on Tuesday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per family (4 per family max).

Find the Facebook event page here.

Eating Oxford Institute is a monthly food-centric class hosted by, in partnership with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford Parks Commission.


Summer’s Bounty (Oxford Citizen column June 27)

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Summer of Seafood June 21 to August 15

seafoodtrailimgPlanning 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.


Class Wrap-Up: Juicing for Health and Energy

IMG_5027Our first class in the Eating Oxford Institute series was held Wednesday night at The Powerhouse.

Attendees learned the benefits and techniques of juicing from Melody Sharp, owner of Living Foods (formerly Local Flavor).IMG_5096

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, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and the Oxford Park Commission.

(Thank you to Giana Leone IMG_5021of the Daily Mississippian for sharing her photos from the event.)

Good Food for Oxford Schools: Interview with Sunny Young

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.


gfos 2

By far, the most adorable garden I’ve ever seen!

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.

Combining the efforts in the cafeteria, classroom, and community allows GFOS to affect gfos 1change in the health of our students, their families, the local economy, and the environment.

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 megfos 5nus 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.

What goals have you already achieved and what are your future goalgfos 3s with the program?

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)

Setting a Local Table in Oxford

In honor of last week’s Earth Week and the second season of Oxford City Market, I asked Betsy Chapman from Yokna Bottoms Farm to submit a post about Oxford Farms and Farmers. Check out her post below, and say hi the next time you see her at the farmer’s market. –Liz

We’re All in This Thing Together

betsyBy Betsy Chapman

It might come as a surprise, but there’s not a whole lot of “mudslinging” among Oxford’s community of growers and producers. Mud, yes. Slinging, no.

Despite our differences in philosophy and farming practices, the prevailing theme among local farmers: We’re all in this thing together

Whether we’re all under the big tent at Oxford City Market or side-by-side at Midtown, there’s a strong sense of mutual respect, support, and admiration. We know better than anyone the tremendous amount of hard work, time, and dedication it takes to bring thousands of pounds of food into town twice a week to feed our friends and neighbors.

Sure, more farms mean more competition, but it’s healthy competition and that competition is what will drive the market as we work together to build a strong local food economy. Simply put: No farmer wants to sit alone at the market….Fewer farmers means fewer customers.

That said, let me introduce you to the Multi-Farm Dinner my family and I enjoyed after last Tuesday’s first Oxford City Market (OXCM) of 2014:

On the menu:

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Yokna Bottoms spring salad mix with mild, crisp radishes from Charlie Dawson of Canebreak Farm tossed with Yokna Bottoms Green Garlic Vinaigrette – sweetened with Mardis Honey.

Sauteed kale from Will and Amanda Reed of Native Son Farm mixed with Yokna Bottoms collards, seasoned with Yokna Bottoms green onions and spicy peppers, slow-smoked on the farm.

Yokna Bottoms Chow Chow deviled eggs with the farm’s green onion and smoked sweet peppers and my freakin’ awesome homemade chow chow from neighbor and friend Stacey Sanford of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

Delicious homemade whole wheat bread from Christy and Marie of M&J Farm.yokna post 2

Peas from Bost Farm of Mid-Town Market, frozen from last year – still really good!

Iced sweet tea with Yokna Bottoms mint and Mardis Honey.

Dessert: Native Son strawberries with M&J Farm chocolate sauce!

See what we just did there? We made an incredible meal from the collective efforts of several local growers….

What’s on your local plate?

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Betsy Chapman works at Yokna Bottoms Farm and cooks up a storm in her tiny, ill-equipped Oxford, Mississippi, kitchen. Find her and her farmer friends at OXCM Tuesdays from 3-6:30 p.m. on West Oxford Loop and Saturdays 7-11 a.m. at Mid-Town Market, in the Sears parking lot off of North Lamar. For more information on Yokna Bottoms, give Betsy a call at 662-380-2367.


***On the subject of our community of local farmers, Will and Amanda Reed (Native Son) are facing a tough time. Their baby Magnolia Jane was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer and is undergoing treatment at Lebonheur in Memphis. Find out how to help support these incredibly hardworking Tupelo farmers: Thoughts and Prayers for Magnolia Jane.