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Oakwood Farms Market Opens Amid Showers of Blessing
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on June 26, 2020

by Maquisha Mullins, Ph.D., Interim Director, Oakwood University IMPR

As the rain began to fall, Oakwood Farms held the grand opening of its newly constructed retail location, the Oakwood Farms Market, directly across from the main entrance to the Oakwood University campus on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

In addition to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, grand opening (see event photos) day offered patrons a variety of activities, free samples, and tastings throughout the event, beginning at 8:00 a.m. The new store is creating jobs for community members and serves as a resource to residents living in an identified food desert. Customers can feel a sense of pride knowing that patronizing the Oakwood Farms Market, and its Oak Tree Bistro, means supporting university students.

Special guests included: Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; Madison County Commissioner JesHenry Malone; Huntsville City Council President Devyn Keith; and Chip Cherry and Amber Greenwood from the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

During the early years of Oakwood's history, from 1915 to 1919, and again from 1926 to 1932, John Martin Swofford served at Oakwood as Farm Superintendent. Two of his descendants, Ms. April Swofford, from Virginia, and Mrs. Ruth Swofford McMahon, from Florida, traveled to Huntsville to be present for the grand opening.

Several years following Mr. Swofford’s service as farm superintendent, Mr. Lawrence Jacobs, Sr., took over management of the college dairy herd and farm. His son, Lawrence Jacobs, Jr., served as co-manager. The 800-ton silos you see today were built during their 30 years of service, to provide more feeding flexibility for the herds. Oakwood’s name was synonymous with skilled farming technique. Mr. Harold Jacobs and Mrs. Maxine Jacobs Rice, who as young people spent hours working on the farm with their father, were also present at the grand opening. The Jacobs family legacy with Oakwood and the Farm is noteworthy. They were thanked for the years of labor given to provide revenue for the institution and jobs for students to assist with paying for their education.

The new golden structure of the Market was erected on approximately six acres with 6,110 square feet of retail space at 5001 Adventist Boulevard, in Huntsville on the corner of Sparkman Drive and Adventist Boulevard. The store offers and array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown on the Oakwood University campus, and has expanded its partnerships with local farmers to increase the variety of products available to its customers. The new Oakwood Farms Market also introduced its private label products ranging from health and wellness to beverages.

“As we grow and expand our offerings to our customers, we are careful to maintain the heart of our Oakwood Farms, which is providing fresh, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables for families in our community and funding student scholarships,” said Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard.

Staff taking extra precautions during the pandemic was evident as customers lined up to purchase fresh, locally-grown produce, and other food items. All staff wore masks and gloves, grocery carts were sanitized after use, and shield guards have been installed at the registers. Additional local media outlets WAAY TV (ABC affiliate) and WZDX (Fox affiliate) were present to help announce the event:

Store hours of operation are:

• Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
• Friday (Summer): 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
• Friday (Fall/Winter): 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
• Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

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