Published on September 23rd, 2014 | by TLV News0
“The Open Every Day Farmers’ Market” by Michelle Edwards
Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy.
It’s not about nutrients and calories.
It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity.
Oxford, Miss (TLV) – For over ten years Lizzie and Frank Coppola have served our town and community more than just good food from behind the counter at the Farmers’ Market. The result is nothing less than a cult following. This is not your regular farmer’s market. From the outside, it’s an unassuming place but let me give you a heads up…this is where the locals shop. This small store on the edge of town has a ridiculous selection and as many items as possible are local. From local meat and honey to fresh-shelled peas and tomatoes, it’s all here.
The Farmers’ Market is an eclectic down home foodie heaven; the store itself is one-quarter roadside vegetable stand, one-quarter fine foods market, one quarter butcher shop, and one-quarter co-op. In the spring/summer there are plants for your garden and flowers for your front porch. In the fall there are pumpkins, hay bales, and mums. Watermelons, Vardaman sweet potatoes, peppers, corn, and yellow squash fill bins inside. Grab some prosciutto and a wedge of Parmigiano reggiano for wine and cheese night, or package of hamburger meat and cheddar for burgers on the grill. The shelves are stocked with all kinds of items from hot sauce to gluten free flour. There are dark chocolate covered almonds, fresh Gambino’s bread from New Orleans and a cooler full of that insanely good Sweet Magnolia ice cream made from local Brown’s Dairy milk. Every corner is filled with unexpected treasures. In the drink cooler by the back door are Cokes in the original green glass bottles imported from Mexico and made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. There is everything in here but windshield wipers.
Lagniappe: The sister store for the Farmers’ market is Stan’s Meat Market. Yes! Need something for the grove or for a huge gathering? Call Frank at Stan’s, place your order and have Lizzie bring it to Oxford for you. Need something for supper? Choose from the ever-revolving selection of hand cut and cured meats and sausages in the Farmers’ market cooler. There is always something new to try—a fresh made sausage you’ve never heard of, Guanciale, hard-to-find beef cuts, Tasso, Andouille, pancetta, even the occasional cuts of goat and lamb.
Lizzy is the heart and soul of the store. If you are a regular, she knows you—your name, what you like to eat, that you went out of town last week for work—no ID card needed. Don’t see what you want? Lizzie will order if for you and call you when it comes in! Anonymous consumerism does not happen here. If you listen to her interact with customers, she is always recommending something new to try or new recipes for old favorites. Her laugh is contagious and she forgives you if you forgot to bring in your milk bottle. (And we forgive her for being an LSU fan.)
Today we can purchase almost anything and not deal with another human to get it. Pay at the pump gas, self check out at Wal-Mart, and, God is there anything you can’t buy online? Convenient yes, but better? Meh, I’m not so sure. At the Farmers’ Market, you are checked out by a
real person who weighs your produce, rings it up, and bags it up. There is always a dog out back and music is playing on the radio. People from all walks of life soak up the authentic vibe here. Walk in the door and
you will rub elbows with the diversity of Oxford—there are housewives with small kids, Ole Miss students and professors, construction workers, and someone’s grandma, who is in line behind a local restaurant chef.
Human connection and good fresh food combine to make magic. Couldn’t we all use some of that? Do yourself a favor; experience one of Oxford’s best-kept secrets.
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #212 (published September 11, 2014).
To download the PDF of this issue, click here.
More photos from Oxford Farmer’s Market