Which deli?

Palm's Delicatessen 84, The Covered Market, OX1 3D4 Tel: 01865 247500 Owned by: Ailsa Goodall Run by: Diana Shrimpton How long has the business been up and running?

For more than 50 years. It was set up by Mr and Mrs Palm, an Austrian couple who settled in Oxford and saw the need for continental products. Mrs Palm was very well known around Oxford and also had a lot of contacts in London, which was how she managed to import such a wide range of goods.

How important is it to give people a wide choice of good food?

Very. We are all about being different. People say if in doubt, go to Palms'. We have about 2,000 lines - some very odd and old-fashioned. Customers expect to have a wide variety of international groceries available to them, so we do try to keep up-to-date as well.

What are the advantages of using locally produced food, is there any local food that sells particularly well?

textd market for our fruit and veg, they keep us up to date with what local products they have.

Products which are great and sell well: l Eynsham Honey (from Sally Moyes' bees) l Upper Norton Jersey Farm Cream / Butter / Yoghurt / Crème Fraiche (Church Hanborough) l Windrush Goats Cheese (Pinchpool Farm near Burford) How would you sum up, in a sentence or two, what your deli offers?

We offer great food accessible to all. And whether it is a luxury' sausage roll; English champagne; marinated artichokes; stuffed chilies; an evening meal; gluten free sumptuous cake; a slice of ham; a recipe; serious chocolate; a bunch of basil; a hamper for your favourite Aunt; food for a party; a sniff of the aromas from the kitchen, or conversation about food / village happenings / the weather, all are welcome.

What do you have that no-one else can offer? Do you have any special services available to customers?

The main focus of the deli is the kitchen, which is part of the shop. Customers can see the food being cooked and chat to us about what we are doing.

We produce a great variety of snack foods, salads and cakes in the deli daily. We have a weekly dinner menu, cooking one dish a day, available from 3pm every day for an evening meal. The idea of this is that you can take home a home-cooked meal, using fresh, where possible. local and seasonal, ingredients. Whether you are single, come home late and want a healthy tasty meal, have friends coming to dinner, our meals are a great option.

Special services we offer our customers: If we are preparing a dish and a customer has an ingredient they would like omitted we will do this if practical.

We can prepare our meals of the day in your own dish lWe will cook your favourite dish for you lRecipe advice if you want it lWe can get most ingredients, even if we don't stock them for customers if they request them, if we can't help we will suggest who can.

Is it difficult running your own business in such a competitive market, and what can you do to evolve your business?

Although we are in a very competitive market, we think that being flexible, listening to what our customers want, and ensuring that our product is of a consistent, high quality, that people trust, we will grow and survive.

We hope to continue to evolve by keeping abreast of food trends, continually researching new suppliers for the best products and to lessen the food miles of all our products.

But most importantly, we want to ensure that we listen to our customers and encourage more people to try us.

My dream was, and is, to share my passion and enthusiasm for good food with others.

To give people an opportunity to try new foods, and the confidence to experiment with new products, ingredients and recipes.

To impart knowledge of provenance of foods, so people feel more in touch with what they are eating. People are becoming more and more concerned about where their food comes from - I aim to ensure that we can give customers relevant information on all products.

Do you have any special involvement with the local community?

As the deli, we sponser local groups by giving vouchers for raffles etc, and advertise in some programmes.

This year, I have been asked to judge various categories in the food part of the Food and Produce Show. This means that I won't be able to enter any of my jellies, but I will still be entering my bucket of compost, and hopefully some produce from my garden.

Next year, I will be taking part in activities with the primary school to do with healthy eating and general food awareness.

Nick is a retained fireman at Eynsham, which means we need to ensure that we are all prepared for the times his alerter goes off and he has to exit fast.

What's your bestselling product?

At the moment our luxury' sausage rolls What foods could you simply not manage without?

Good quality butter, flour and fresh herbs.

From an eating point of view Nick and I could not survive without good bread / cheese / fresh salads / tea and cake What's your personal favourite from the deli?

My personal favourite from the deli changes frequently, I love most the foods we stock and make, so I am going to choose a piece of equipment, the blast chiller.

This piece of equipment means that the quality of all foods we cook is fantastic. As soon as the foods are ready we blast chill the dinners etc, meaning that the quality of taste and texture is at an optimum, not to mention the safety of the food.

But if you want me to choose a food today it is the potato latke, oh and the chillies stuffed with anchovy and capers.

We make the latkes (my Lithuanian grandmothers recipe, a latke is a bit like a rosti). The chillies come from Italy and are supplied by our great Italian supplier from Banbury (Leonardo de Felice).

Any funny stories to tell?

Many, but probably not that funny once repeated. The thing that does cause a lot of amusement (although it is a serious cause), is when Nick gets a shout (fire brigade alerter goes off), and he stops serving a customer who is unaware of why a high pitched sound has emitted from his belt and he and rushes for the back door and can be seen peddling madly down the road.

There is always someone else working in the shop, who calmly explains to the confused looking customer what is going on and smoothly takes over serving.