Brand New: Small Town Homestead

We get excited when a new brand comes in… and it’s from Blue Mountain, Mississippi!  Small Town Homestead offers natural medicinal and household products that promote immunity from seasonal illness and clean out the toxins in our lives.

When founder and supermom Ashley Bryant asked us about carrying Small Town’s Elderberry and Tart Cherry syrups, we jumped at the chance.  Local elderberry syrup has been hard to find lately, and we love to take a spoonful a day and even drizzle it over pancakes.  Small Town’s syrups have gotten us through the past few flu seasons and helped our family get better rest through the trials and tribulations of the school year.  And their latest offerings — an All-Purpose Cleaner, various Lip Balms, and Essential Oils — will have your home feeling like a spa.

Ashley started experimenting with Elderberry Syrup in 2018 in response to allergies, illness, and other complications that her family was struggling with.  Soon the recipe she perfected turned into a retail brand and expanded to other home remedies and cleaning products.

“As a small-town girl, I was brought up with old-fashioned values and entrepreneurial spirit,” Ashley says. “I am so excited to make available my small-batched hand-crafted blends in a way that showcases their honest, pure ingredients.”

We’re so excited that Small Town Homestead found their way to Chicory Market.  They make all of our lives better!

Chicory Awarded Healthy Food Financing Initiative Grant

     We’re excited to announce that @usdagov has awarded Chicory Market a Healthy Food Financing Initiative Grant. This amazing program supports growth in independent community-based food businesses to improve access to healthy local food in areas that struggle with food insecurity. This seed funding helped us secure financing for our upcoming expansion project as we look ahead to operating a larger space in Midtown Shopping Center. More importantly, by supporting our community outreach efforts, it will help us work toward our mission to make Chicory Market and the local food movement more accessible to all in Oxford and Lafayette County.
     Operating in a larger space will enable us to offer more affordable local and natural food options. More on those efforts soon. Meanwhile, we will continue to accept EBT and SNAP and to offer discounts for all those who rely on those benefits.
     The most exciting part of the USDA grant for us is the opportunity to grow our community outreach program. We’ll be working with LOU Homes, Doors of Hope, and other local partners to reach people who may feel left out of the local food movement because of economic status. These efforts will promote our SNAP/EBT discounts, efforts to make natural food groceries more affordable, and the health and economic benefits of choosing local produce, buying beans and grains in bulk, and cooking with whole ingredients. Our first event will be the @oxfordmsjuneteenth festival on Saturday, June 17th. Come out and see us!
     We’re grateful for your support and the impact you’re making for others to participate in what we’re doing. The more food you buy locally, the more accessible and sustainable you make the local food economy for all of us!

For the Price of Eggs

An Interview with Beniaih Riley of Etta Hills Farm

Everyone has been talking about the price of eggs.  While supermarket prices for good quality eggs from pasture-raised chickens has jumped north of $12 a dozen in recent weeks, you may have noticed that the local farm eggs we sell at Chicory Market have stayed steady at $5.99.  That’s because Etta Hills Farm and other small egg farmers we work with raise chickens the way nature intended — by letting their birds roam on the emerald green pastures of North Mississippi, growing fat on seeds, worms, grubs, and other living things while replenishing the land we call home.

These practices, while more labor intensive, can insulate small farmers from the market forces impacting commodity feeds and other inputs.  The result is an egg that packs in more vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients.  Most importantly, local eggs taste better!

Chicory Market’s John Martin sat down with Beniaih Riley of Etta Hills Farm to talk about some of the challenges of raising chickens using regenerative practices.


John Martin:  Start by telling us a little history about the farm.  What year did you guys start?  How did you get into farming?  What got your family interested in regenerative agricultural practices?

Beniaiah Riley:  Our family has been blessed to farm in North Mississippi for over 60 years. A long-term fixture of Hernando Farmers Market, we started by offering delicious sweet corn, peas, and more grown on our farm in Eudora, MS.

In 2021, Riley Family Farms partnered with Allen Williams and Understanding Ag to practice Regenerative Farming at Etta Hills Farm, located 15 minutes east of Oxford.  We set out to transform hundreds of acres of degraded soil on the edge of Holly Springs National Forest using traditional, natural, wholistic agricultural practices.  Now, we are proud that this land produces healthy, delicious grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised eggs and chickens and heritage, pasture-raised pork.

JM:  Compared to operations that rely on commodity feed sources, are your costs indeed more stable, or are you having to absorb costs while trying to keep wholesale/retail prices stable?

BR:  I would say it’s a combination of both. Feed costs have risen for us, but not quite as sharply as commodity GMO grain, corn, and soy-based feeds. And since national brands and CAFOs (factory-scale farms categorized by the USDA as “concentrated animal feeding operations”) consume millions of tons of feed a day, even an increase of a few cents per pound equates to huge costs for that type of operation.

JM:  What practices are involved in producing eggs on a regenerative farm?  Where do these practices add cost, and where do they insulate your costs compared to national market forces?

BR:  Our pastured laying hens have probably the most vital impact on our land of all our species right now. Each hen drops around a pound of manure throughout a week, adding immense fertility, and their scratching and packing helps disrupt the surface of the soil to encourage better rainfall penetration. All of this stimulates a ton of soil building biological activity. Spreading the benefits of this process and avoiding too much impact on one area means a labor intensive process of moving our chicken house and thousands of feet of protective electric fencing to new pasture several times a week. However, it also saves us money on feed as our omnivorous hens supplement their diet with a constantly renewing supply of fresh forage, insects, even small reptiles.

JM:  Your eggs have really rich, colorful, flavorful yolks.  We love them!  What goes into them to give them that texture and color?

BR:  The color of egg yolks is 100% the product of their feeding. Mass produced eggs in CAFOs get all of their diet from grain based feed, so their yolks are pale. Our chickens benefit from a diverse diet of forage, non-GMO corn supplements, and culled Mississippi sweet potatoes. The same thing, along with the active lifestyle and sunlight exposure our chickens enjoy, is responsible for their thick, multi colored shells.

JM:  Lastly, what are your long-term goals for the farm in terms of its practices and production?

BR:  Long term, we would like to show that regenerative ag works on any piece of land and help other small farmers replicate our processes. In the near term, we have a lot to be excited about. We just recently completed construction on our full service poultry processing plant in Holly Springs, and we’ll soon be one of the only local farms in North Mississippi to offer pastured chicken, duck, and turkey. We’ll also be able to offer processing services to other small farms.

Celebrate Easter & Passover with us!

We’re hoppin’ excited about this year’s Easter Menu!  All items will be available first come, first served starting Thursday, April 6.  Also check out our new Giardiniera Salad, Tabbouleh, Kale Caesar, Roasted Red Pepper Salmon, and other Spring Menu items in the grab-n-go.  Here’s the full offering:


Lamb Meatballs with Mint Pesto — Easter dinner showstopper back by popular demand!

Roasted Whole Yard Bird w/ fresh spring herbs — A four-pound naturally raised Bell & Evans chicken to feed the whole fam.

Deviled Eggs — ‘Nuff said.

Broccoli Salad — Bacon, cranberries, sunflower seeds, sweet & smoky with a perfect crunch.

Lemon Orzo Salad — A spring favorite, light, tangy, with an apricot sweetness.

Shrimp Remoulade — classic New Orleans recipe. Best on a salad, a sandwich, or scooped straight out of the container into your mouth!

Hot Ham Rolls — A party pleaser w/ melted gruyere, doused in poppyseed dressing.

Easter Quiches — Choose between Bacon/Asparagus/Shallot/Gruyere or Roasted Kale/Squash/Goat Cheese… or choose both!

Strawberry Shortcakes — Made with Louisiana strawberries.

Banana Pudding — Yes!



Love Everyone with our Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

The first crop of Louisiana strawberries is always a good antidote for winter, and we have plenty arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day. We’ll be using these sweet beauties for our annual Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.  Treat your sweetheart by the dozen for $25 or half-dozen for $14.  Hand-dipped and accented with sweet dark chocolate.

Deadline for preorders is Wednesday 2/8.  Pick ups are Friday 2/10, or Tuesday 2/14.  We’ll also have plenty of extras in the grab-n-go.  First come, first served!



New Year’s Resolution: Eat More Bulk Foods!

For the month of January, we’re taking 20% off all items purchased from our bulk bins.  Our bulk foods section offers a great selection of grains, legumes, granolas, and nuts.  These hearty staples are great for soups and other winter recipes.  And buying bulk is a great way to save money, reduce packaging and food waste, and eat better in 2023!

Here’s the recipe for Chicory Market’s beloved French Lentil Soup to get you started.  The graphic is from our new winter tote bags designed by local artist and our very talented staff member Hunter Rose Johnson!



Thanksgiving Chicory Style!

Let us take the load off your Thanksgiving with traditional sides and Louisiana-inspired fare.  Our kitchen will be cooking up plenty of dishes for your Thanksgiving table plus all the other meals to feed your guests before and after the holiday. See below for the full menu.

**PLEASE NOTE: We’re doing our Thanksgiving menu a little different this year.  All menu items will be available FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED starting Monday, Nov. 21.  No pre-orders, no holds.  There will be plenty to go around, but you may want to come early to make sure you get what you need.


THANKSGIVING (feeds 3-6 people)

Cajun Cornbread Dressing andouille and house-baked cornbread

Bechamel Green Beans fresh take on the original w/criminis & crispy onions (V) 

Butternut & Kale Casserole crispy panko, creamy parmesan (V, GF)

Leek Tart fresh leeks & feta (V)

Super Green Quinoa Saladkale, citrus vinaigrette (V, GF)

Sweet Potato Casserolemaple & pecans (V)

Cranberry Orange Relishstewed orange peel, pecans (V, GF)


MAINS (feeds 2-6 people)

Holiday Gumbo fresh Gulf shrimp & oysters, andouille

Herb-Roasted Chicken fresh herbs, big birds!

Grillades New Orleans style beef stew. Serve w/grits or rice.



Bourbon Bread Pudding

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Farm Report: Justevia & Gimbia’s Kitchen

It’s high summer in Velma, Mississippi, when everything around here verges on tropical. The farm at Halima Salazar’s place in Yalobusha County is teeming with white velvet okra and hibiscus, with purple hull peas and honey beans native to her home country of Nigeria, with turmeric and ginger and an abundance of mint. There’s even an experimental patch of indigo.

Much of what Halima and her farming partner Dria Price grow for their tea line Justevia, their Gimbia’s Kitchen pop-up dinners, and the heirloom seed company Truelove mirrors farms and gardens throughout West Africa. It tells the story of Halima’s migration across the ocean to attend college in Texas. It feels at once deeply familiar and newly strange, like you’ve been transported deeper into the essence of North Mississippi, this place you never stop discovering. For Halima this balancing of cultures feels like home.


Dria Price and Halima Salazar

“I grew up seeing women from different tribes use the same ingredients to cook food and make it look and taste different,” she tells me. “Since coming to the U.S., both before and after college, I’ve kept thinking about the similarities between our food and Southern food.”

Inside the sky blue cabin where Halima lives with her husband and two children, the walls made of hand-hewn pine are decorated with masks and fabrics made by Nigerian tribes. Like the food she cooks, her upbringing is a melting pot of different tribes: Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani. The kitchen is immaculate with butcher-block counters, a giant farm sink, and a crown jewel of an Italian range.

Halima hands me a plate steaming with a West African porridge recipe she’s testing for a welcome reception for new students and staff at the University of Mississippi’s Southern Foodways Alliance. The first bite is warm and inviting, an initial kick from cayenne and scotch bonnet peppers grounded by the earthy softness of sweet potato and beef.

“It needs to be a little less spicy before we can serve it,” Halima says with a furtive smile. Nigerians are used to a little heat, she explains, so she has to tone down the recipes for American eaters.

White Velvet Okra

Halima and Dria’s patchwork farm is pieced together between yards and empty lots from Velma to Oxford. The beds are small and full, more on the scale of home gardens. Together they make a farm. There’s plenty to eat, but most of the off-beat varietals, from the honey beans to the white velvet okra to a Nigerian amaranth green called Efo Aleho and indigo, are being grown for Truelove Seeds, a Pennsylvania-based heirloom farm collaborative dedicated to preserving culturally important heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

For Dria the seeds are just as powerful as the food that contains them.

“I think about that when I harvest a basket full of peppers from a single pepper plant that I grew from one single pepper seed,” she says. “And the fact that each pepper that I harvested has enough seeds to grow hundreds more peppers in the future. I love the fact that I can put a few little seeds in the ground and grow enough to feed my household and share with people around me.”

This was a gospel that Dria learned at the Oxford Community Market (OXCM) from Leonard Brown, a beloved farmer who grows herbs, tends goats, and partners in a mushroom cultivation project with Alcorn State University on his land around Velma. An Oxford High School alum with a bachelors degree and a graduate degree in Dietetics from the University of Mississippi, Dria spent her early life in Chicago and was trying to rediscover her family’s roots as farmers and subsistence landowners.

“Living off the land is how many black people were able to survive when we didn’t have rights to enter certain places or money to afford the basics,” Dria says, explaining how empowering one’s community through food is a Mississippi tradition. “The reliance on convenience and lack of knowledge regarding how to grow/make our essential food items could mitigate the descent into food insecurity, which has long lasting effects on both our bodies and mental health. This is something that activists such as Fannie Lou Hamer have been talking about for decades.”

Brown offered her a way to reconnect with those ancestral food ways. “I remember Mr. Brown saying that God gave us plants that grow better after being clipped as His way of making sure that we always have food.”

Truelove Seeds

This was 2019. Halima, who had just moved to the Batesville area with her family, met Brown around the same time to buy some of his goats. The two began volunteering for him, trying their hands at farming, and soon Halima and her family moved deeper into their Mississippi journey, south of Water Valley to Velma.

“Over the last three years, we haven’t stopped going, and we’ve started so many new ventures since then,” Dria says.

Inspired by Brown, they began growing and drying their own herbs and started the herbal tea company Justevia, named after the natural sweetener found in each blend. The teas, little harmonies of comforting herbs such as hibiscus, mint, tulsi basil and lavender, are popular at OXCM, the Tuesday farmer’s market at the Old Armory Pavilion. You can also find them on the shelves at Chicory Market and in our Iced Hibiscus Tea on the counter.

As farmers in the OXCM community, Halima and Dria have found other ways to contribute their talents. Halima, who went to culinary school back in Nigeria, began to present Nigerian food popups at the market under her brand Gimbia’s Kitchen – “gimbia” the word for “princess” in the Hausa language in remembrance of her grandmother. “My passion is to show people that African food is diverse and incredible and is not just Jollof,” she says.

She met Corbin Evans of Oxford Canteen, and presented several dinners there and at Chicory Market. Dria, a talented baker, met Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar and moonlighted as a guest chef on their dessert menu.

The growth in their farm business has been community-based – organic in the most literal sense and by necessity. And their hard work is starting to pay off. In June they were one of 10 farms across the country to be awarded Braiding Seeds Fellowships by Soul Fire Farm, a community farming foundation with a mission to lift up African-American and indigenous farmers and their work in creating food sovereignty. During the 18-month program, Halima and Dria will receive grant support and professional development to learn and grow as farmers.

Honey Beans

“Something that makes this journey easier is forming a community with other farmers, including those who do not come from farming backgrounds, women, younger people, and especially black farmers,” Dria says. “The Braiding Seeds Fellowship has helped us find more people like us who are passionate about the Earth, farming, and do not look like the typical farmer in our area.”

For Halima, farming in a place like Mississippi, where eating well is such a public health issue, is also an outward facing mission. “To be an example to the next generation of people of color, so they know that fresh food is not about gentrification and that we all should have equal access to it. If kids don’t see people who look like themselves growing food, they won’t know they can also take ownership of what goes onto their plate.”

On October 2 and 3, the Gimbia’s team will be back at Snackbar to present an Anatomy Dinner with the Philadelphia-based physician and adventure writer Jonathan Reisman. After hearing Reisman talk about his book, The Unseen Body, on NPR’s Fresh Air, they messaged him and invited him to partner with them. This unique six-course dinner, inspired by Reisman’s “Anatomy Eats” series, features dishes prepared from liver, kidney, marrow, and other organ meat to explore new recipes inspired by old food ways and to make delicious use of whole animals.

All of these opportunities have Dria and Halima dreaming big. To make their farming operation whole, they’re looking for a contiguous stretch of land to purchase in Lafayette County. Meanwhile, they are building a second greenhouse funded by a Natural Resources Development Council grant from the USDA.

As much as Justevia and Gimbia’s Kitchen grow, for Dria it all goes back to that single seed.

“What I love is how a simple seed can create such an abundance that you can form a community based on generosity.”

~ John Martin

Tailgate Grub in the Grab-n-Go!

We have everything you need for the Grove or your next watch party! For each Ole Miss home game the Chicory Kitchen turns out a full array of party platters, sandwich trays, meals, sides, and other tailgate grub to make everyone in your party happy. See below for examples.

**PLEASE NOTE: All prepared foot items are now available first-come-first-served. NO PRE-ORDERS, NO HOLDS. The kitchen will be making plenty of tailgate grub to last through game day of each football weekend. Come early, and get your Grove on!  Hotty Toddy!!!

  • Home Place Pastured BBQ Sliders
  • House Gumbo & Jambalaya
  • Sausage & Cheese Platter
  • Muffuletta Tray
  • Veggie Sandwich Tray
  • Hot Ham Rolls
  • Fruit & Crudité
  • Mississippi Charcuterie
  • Creole Shrimp Salad
  • Better Cheddar

Farm Report: Clear Creek Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry season in North Mississippi is short and sometimes hot, but oh so sweet. And this spring Clear Creek Produce set a new record for strawberries.

Matt Britt, the farmer who owns and operates Clear Creek, put 28,000 strawberry plants into the ground back in the fall. That’s almost double the 15,000 he and his crew raised last year. For all the extra work, Matt says, the increase in production has helped him grow his business, especially while wrestling with the rainy spring weather.

“They’ve helped keep our workers busy and given us more to sell while we’re waiting for the soil to dry to break ground for the summer crops,” he said

All those extra berries have required additional hands. The Clear Creek crew has grown from three last year to seven regular pickers and a few freelancers this spring. 

The extra production has also helped push the farm to sell more at farmers markets and find new markets for its produce. Local artist and farmer Carl Blackledge, who helps run Clear Creek’s sales every summer, estimates he’s already sold more than 5,000 pounds of strawberries at the Hernando Farmers Market. That’s 700 pounds a week! And that’s in addition to what they sell at their regular sites. 

Besides Chicory Market, you can find Clear Creek berries at the Oxford Community Market and the Midtown Farmers Market. You can find them in the cakes at Sugar Magnolia in New Albany. You can find them at Piggly Wiggly in Bruce and BTC Grocery in Water Valley.

Carl has also sent strawberries to New South Produce, a regional distribution network based out of Memphis. 

“There’s no telling where you can probably find our berries now!’ Matt said.

Matt predicts the berries to keep coming until the end of May. Beyond that, expect to find onions, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower starting in early June. And the rest of the summer and fall will bring the usual Clear Creek bounty of homegrown tomatoes of all stripes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, okra, and watermelons. 

It’s easy to eat local this time of year, thanks to Clear Creek Produce!