Local entrepreneurs offer a taste of food business

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Mississippi is known for our food traditions. 

Oxford is a place for foodies. 

Two thriving farmer’s markets, award-winning restaurants, and products such as Wonderbird Gin, Heartbreak Coffee, No Time To Cook and Sweet Magnolia Gelato. These locally made products grace store shelves throughout the Southeast.  This culture draws those who want to learn from our local chefs, producers, and culinary entrepreneurs. 

This means new ventures that continue the cycle as Oxford Creamery, Justevia Teas, and Good Whiskey Cheesecake demonstrate.

The challenge for these culinary entrepreneurs is access to a commercial kitchen.  Local businesses such as SeauxS Hot Sauces and Oxsicles lease space from caters, restaurants and even the National Guard Armory.  This creates a constant search for space as restaurants are at capacity. Caterers need their space during the busy seasons. 

Elizabeth Speed of Oxsicles recently enrolled in the Builders + Backers program which offers mentorship and support to assist entrepreneurs in turning ideas into action.  Through this program Speed was able to create a social experiment working to try and measure the need for this commercial kitchen space.  

The results will be on display at the Mississippi Made Pop Up on June 2 at the Old Armory Pavilion from 6 to 8 p.m.  Local food entrepreneurs will be hosting an event to showcase and offer tastings of locally made products.  Speed’s goal was to create a visual representation of the diverse products from teas, ice creams, hot sauce makers, and caterers who would benefit from being able to lease a collaborative space.   These business will be on site to talk with community members about their business and products, offer samples, and sell products. Attendees can enjoy live music, purchase a signature cocktail from Joseph Stinchcomb of Bar Muse, or donate $5 to win a sampler basket from all the vendors.

Speed sees the opportunity to leverage the University of Mississippi Nutrition and Hospitality program, the high school culinary program and the region’s reputation for arts and culture.  Proceeds from the event will assist Speed in her efforts to create a Culinary Entrepreneurship Fund to assist in building a space to support these small businesses.

 

Wayne Andrews is chairman of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.