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Farmers market fosters fresh foods

An assortment of fresh peppers are some of many produce options at the Oxford Farmers Market.
An assortment of fresh peppers are some of many produce options at the Oxford Farmers Market.

By Nora Molinaro, For The Miami Student

Every Saturday between the morning hours of eight and noon, rain or shine, one will find students, families, farmers and vendors alike gathered at the intersection of Main and High Streets for the weekly Oxford Farmers Market.

The community shares organic and fresh food, stories and laughter - lots of it.

One-thousand customers, 40 vendors and two green bean costumes make up the farmers market the Oxford community knows and loves.

The vendors, artists and farmers sell a variety of unique goods and fresh, seasonal food.

The market manager Larry Slocum is passionate about the farmers market purpose.

"It's the moment when you walk into the market," he said. "That's the reason why we keep it around, the reason why we started it. It's the feeling that starts in the toes and is quickly absorbed and traveled to the fingers. Joy. It's the feeling being surrounded by a community, something that you truly believe in and are passionate about. That's the feeling and you just gotta have it."

The idea of a farmers market in Oxford started in 1960. After many trial runs in various locations, two of the local markets combined to create the one that stands today located in the heart of Oxford's Uptown Park.

"What I like more than anything about the market and the Miami students is that we're helping the university understand the value of local produce," Slocum said. "I hope that when the students get rich and famous that they find a farmers market like the one they enjoyed during their college days or start one if there isn't one already located."

Many traditions and rituals in American culture revolve around food. For the Oxford community, the farmer's market is just another tradition that has been growing the past 10 years.

"The farmers market is so special to me because it lets me see a whole other side to Oxford than what I see during the week," Catherine Mazanek, a Miami Sophomore who frequents the market, said. "It reminds me that there's a lot more here than just Miami University and I'm lucky enough to be a part of that larger community."

The motto for the entire farmers market of Oxford is "Cultivating Community" and they keep that motto first and foremost.

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The market gives off a contagious, peaceful and lively atmosphere.

Each and every person has a story to tell, you just have to ask for it.

Ryan Doan, a farmer at the market, graduated from Miami University in 2002 with a finance degree. After 10 years in the corporate world, he finally had enough with the Microsoft spreadsheets.

"I really wish that the professors really expressed the kind of lifestyle you sign up for when you enter the workforce after college," Doan said. "I wish someone told me to pursue what I was passionate about instead of thinking about the big bucks."

After starting a garden within his community, Doan had bigger and better plans.

"My passion is making fresh picked food for people that will continue to make them healthy," Doan said.

Urban Greens is now a sustainable business that can now run itself.

With communities continuing to support farmers markets around the world, farming has the increasing potential to become a profession again.

Secrets out: the Oxford farmers market is a special place to be on Saturday mornings.