Mississippi’s Chicory Market celebrates grand opening with local food makers, cooking demos, giveaways, live music and more

Published 11:34 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Where can you find locally sourced dairy and produce, learn how to make homemade pasta, and enjoy live music and a shrimp boil?

Chicory Market in Oxford on Friday, May 3, is the place!

On Friday, the collaborative food space will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting in its new Mid-Town Shopping Center location along with vendor partners Johnston Hill Creamery, Home Place Pastures, and Heartbreak Coffee.

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The all-day event will feature pop-ups by local food makers, a community fair, cooking demos, gift card and product giveaways, live music by the Soul-Tones, a shrimp boil, and more.

The Chicory Kitchen will present pasta-making and pie dough demos. Johnston Hill will break down an 80-pound wheel of parmesan. The Oxford Lafayette-County Chamber of Commerce will lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Oxford Food Pantry will be collecting food donations.

The University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability will hold a glass recycling collection.

The End of All Music will close out the celebration with a DJ set.

Featured vendors include Las Delicias, Spark Confectionary, Oxsicles, Justevia, Small Town Homestead, and Yazoo Yaupon.

The new Chicory Market opened its doors in January as a collaborative food space with its partners operating their businesses as departments within a seamless grocery experience. Since then, the new space has strengthened Chicory’s two-part mission to support the local food economy by working with more than 75 farmers and foodmakers and to make local and natural foods more inclusive to people of all economic means.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm from the community,” Chicory co-owner Kate Bishop said. “The more invested the community is in local food, the more we are able to serve everyone by securing better prices for our customers.”

A USDA Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant helped fund the expansion with a focus on improving access to healthy local and natural foods for people of all economic means.

Building on partnerships started through the grant, the grand opening will include a morning community fair showcasing the work of local organizations addressing food insecurity and wellness in Lafayette County. Featured partners include the Oxford Pantry, Doors of Hope, Oxford-University Transit, Mississippi Care, the Lafayette County Department of Human Services, and several University of Mississippi groups, including Grove Grocery, the Magee Center for Wellness Education, the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, and the Office of Sustainability.

The grand opening will give shoppers the opportunity to have an immediate impact. Oxford Pantry and Grove Grocery will be taking food collections for community members who struggle with food insecurity.

According to the UM Center for Population Students, 28 percent of Lafayette County residents qualify as “Food Insecure with Hunger,” above the statewide average of 27 percent.

The expansion has helped Chicory Market prioritize its mission to improve food accessibility. Over the past year it has joined a national buying cooperative to help secure better prices from food distributors and offer an Everyday Low Prices Program on house-label organic grocery staples.

In the larger retail space, it has also expanded the variety of products in its inventory with a focus on value items and brands. Meanwhile, the market continues to offer 10% discounts for all customers relying on SNAP benefits and EBT.

“The farmers, vendors, and community partners we work with help make Oxford such a special place,” Bishop said. “We’re so excited to get this chance to show everyone how important they are for our community.”

The full schedule of grand opening events includes:

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Community Partner Fair / Vendor Pop-ups featuring Home Place Pastures, Native Son
Farm, Small Town Homestead, and Johnston Hill Creamery / Chicory Kitchen Cooking Demos
11:30 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting w/ Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce
Noon – 4 p.m. – Live music featuring The Soul Tones & special guests / Vendor Pop-ups featuring
Oxsicles, Yazoo Yaupon, Las Delicias, Spark Confectionary, and Justevia / Chicory Kitchen Cooking
4 -6 p.m. – The End of All Music Radio Hour, Grocery Cart Dancing / Shrimp Boil.