HIGH SUMMER 2009
LUSH GREENS, COOL BLUES
“Land,” writes Vineyard poet John Maloney, “holds us.”* Surrounded by the blue sea, connected to the seasons, we are bound to each other here by the land and how it sustains us. In Edible Vineyard’s first High Summer issue, we feature some interesting perspectives about how agriculture and community are as interconnected as the cerulean tides that flow around us.
John Abrams writes in “Sustain” about access to farmland and the issues that surround it. His column is supplemented with a special section—a tear-out depicting two maps of the Vineyard that shed light on the state of Island farming today and what the potential is for tomorrow.
On the grand scale of our nation’s food system, every third bite of what we eat is a result of the honeybees’ busy work: pollination. Our country relies on bees for bountiful crops and so do we, locally. Some Island apiarists are learning how to raise queens, for our locale and without chemicals. We hope that wherever you live, you’ll plant, garden, and farm in ways that support lo- cal bees.
The Vineyard is now home to a few thousand Brazilians, our newest immigrants and Americans. At one time in the past, we’ve all been strangers in a strange land—or our ancestors were. So imagine how sweet the smell of cooking a familiar vegetable like taioba must be—evoking a long lost homeland, thousands of miles away. Island-grown Brazilian vegetables transcend language, religion, and culture. They are our newest Massachusetts locally-grown. But beyond that they simply taste good.
While cooking with taioba may feel novel, there is nothing new about eating in season from the Island’s fields, shores, and deep waters. Jean Wexler is the co-author of the iconic The Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook, which was first published in 1971, way before eating local was the “next big thing.” Her lingering Kentucky bluegrass drawl traces in and out of her essay, “Fifty Summers.” Not one to pull a punch, Jean writes, gardens, and cooks with thrift and without trying so damn hard.
Weaving in and out of this season—in the space where water meets the wind—is the color of summer: blue. Blue cools. In blue, we taste, float, dance. Under blue skies we surf, paddle, play pick up b-ball, and afterwards take a cool dip in the Inkwell. Yet summer always melts away too fast. The Ag Fair—the zenith of this season—is a heady, greasy mix of fair food, neon lights and farmer-friendly competition. May the strongest oxen pull, the cockiest chicken blue-ribbon. The Fair ends with the ladies’ iron skillet toss. As the last throw lands hard in the dirt in the championship round, in the dusk of one soft night, it’s harder to believe summer is already going away again. Fade to blue.